Dragonfly husbandry

Trace

Arachnosquire
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Anyone ever have any experience keeping dragonflies. The nymphs I have down but I'd like to learn more about keeping the adults. We're setting up an "aviary" and I'd like to get some dragonflies in it.
 

arachnocat

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I think dragonflies eat insects don't they? I bet you could buy some fly larvaes online and hatch them in your aviary. Post some pics when you get it all set up. I would love to see it :)
 

Tleilaxu

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All I know is that you will need a very large flight for them as males are territorial and they will need live plants to lay their eggs on, along with standing water and lots of food.
 

Mr. Mordax

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I think the adults are big on eating mosquitoes and other small flying insects.
 

arachnocat

Arachnoangel
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I've never heard of keeping them in an aviary. I guess you could though if you had one big enough.
 

Cheshire

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I think everyone else got it...large area, standing water, plants and lots of flying food.

Grain moths should suffice. They're easy to raise and are kind of sizable. Houseflies also wouldn't be a horribly bad idea. Just need maggot medium and you're set.

What species are you considering?
 

Trace

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Well, we are opening an invertebrate house at the zoo I work at and the director really wants to have a walk through dragonfly exhibit. The problem I am seeing is the food source, we don't want a bunch of bottle flies landing on moms and kids in strollers. I like the grain moth idea but do they fly enough? Maybe some fruit flies or midges or something. I talked to one of the keepers at the Saint Louis zoo and they said they had problems keeping them indoors because the polarization of light. Has anyone actually kept these and not run into weird problems, like light? I have no idea what species we would keep, I guess I'll cross that bridge when I learn more about husbandry. Thanks for the posts!
 

Tleilaxu

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They may take some ground based foods, I saw a pic of one eating a small frog, so maybe they could take crickets IF they were in a conspicious location and moved about much.
 

dtknow

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I'd say fruitflies. You could try to concentrate them in areas away from the visitors with fruit. Midges would work, and their are methods of breeding those that your director may know of(larvae are known as bloodworms). The moths would work. Not sure on crickets. I know they will attack stuff around that size if you toss it in the air so that may work(imagine if you guys ended up tossing crickets in the air to feed the dragonflies LOL!).

Not too sure what polarization of light is but dragonflies indoors will immediately gravitate towards a window or lightbulb and die trying to get "outdoors". That is a big problem as you want the dragonflies flying around normally eating, and resting, not buzzing their life away trying to get free. I suspect in a big enclosure like yours it would be less of a problem. Perhaps the aviary would have to be all glass and put fine screening on the side panes to keep them from bumping into them. Hopefully then they wouldn't burn themselves out trying to get through the ceiling....

You guys might want to experiment with damselflies first since they are smaller and due exhibit this light attraction thing too.

This sounds really exciting! If you can't tell I want updates.
 
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Cheshire

Arachnoking
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Oh...right, polarization of light. Forgot about that. They might mistake glass for water, I know they do this with oil in some cases.

Although, whether or not this would be a problem in an aviary would be debatable (like someone already said).

Here's an idea...toss crickets on water. I've seen dragonflies swoop down to grab bugs off the water. It's worth a shot.
 
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