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Ecology professor says more dragonflies likely means fewer mosquitoes

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An ecology professor at YSU said dragonflies are like the sharks or lions of the insect world

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – After virtually every community in our area reported seeing swarms of dragonflies Tuesday night, we wanted to learn more about what was going on.

“They’re going to be at their maximum abundance in the evening,” said Dr. Tom Diggins, professor of Ecology at Youngstown State.

Diggins knows something about dragonflies. He has a theory for why there were so many.

“What might be going on here is we might be just looking at a very large abundance of the dragonflies that have probably been getting a good food supply in the aquatic environment, and now they’re getting a good food supply out and about in the terrestrial environment,” Diggins said.

A radar image sent out by the National Weather Service in Cleveland showed what appeared to be dragonflies not only in Ohio, but surrounding states as well.

“There is a species of them that actually migrates,” Diggins said. “It’s called the Green Darner and they’re really big green ones.”

He said dragonflies feed on smaller insects.

“These are top predators in their little world. So these are basically like the sharks or the lions of the streams and ponds. So a large population of dragonflies means there’s a lot of food for them and there has been, probably, for a long time.”

He said for every dragonfly, 50 mosquitoes are being eaten.

Diggins said the dragonflies aren’t causing any problems — no damage and they don’t bite or sting.

He also said when there are a lot of dragonflies, that generally means the environment is doing well.

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