Marietta College

Biology Department

Flight Speed of Odonata

Gretchen West using a video camera to record Odonata in flight.

Student research is being conducted on the speeds which adult Odonata can reach. This research has been a collaborative effort between 3 different students over the years. In 1994-1995, Amy Wooddell examined the records of the Ohio Odonata Database to look for correlations between length and speed. Her hypothesis was that longer dragonflies are faster fliers. She found that the data in the database were too noisy to test the hypothesis, and presented her results at the 1995 Ohio Academy of Science meeting. In 1995-1996, Gretchen West conducted field observations to test Amy's hypothesis directly. Because of a broken leg early in the season, Gretchen was only able to provide a few tantalizing clues. Gretchen did, however, work out a number of the techniques. In 1997-1998, Candace Tuxhorn used video techniques to test 3 hypotheses: 1) Longer dragonflies fly faster, 2) Dragonflies flie faster at higher temperatures, and 3) Dragonflies fly faster at greater light intensities.

Candace made over 20 trips to gather data; with 1/2 hour of videotape exposed at each session she had over 11 hours of video. She analyzed enough tape to record almost 7,000 records of dozensof individuals in 4 different species. Candace presented her findings at the 1998 Ohio Academy of Science Meeting and the 1998 North American Benthological Society Meeting at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada.

Candace is working on publishing her results, so we can't give too much away here. However, this version of her presentation might be interesting:

 

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Flight Speed of Odonata
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