Wow. SOMEBODY (cough cough) may be using little robotic dragonflies to maybe spy on folks at political events like anti-war rallies.

Ain’t that too cool??!! Little spy dragonfiles!

Deserves a paragraph of exclamation marks!


If they’re for real.

So what was seen by Crane, Alarcon and a handful of others at the D.C. march – and as far back as 2004, during the Republican National Convention in New York, when one observant but perhaps paranoid peace-march participant described on the Web “a jet-black dragonfly hovering about 10 feet off the ground, precisely in the middle of 7th avenue … watching us”?

They probably saw dragonflies, said Jerry Louton, an entomologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Washington is home to some large, spectacularly adorned dragonflies that “can knock your socks off,” he said.

At the same time, he added, some details do not make sense. Three people at the D.C. event independently described a row of spheres, the size of small berries, attached along the tails of the big dragonflies – an accoutrement that Louton could not explain. And all reported seeing at least three maneuvering in unison.

“Dragonflies never fly in a pack,” he said.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice said her group is investigating witness reports and has filed Freedom of Information Act requests with several federal agencies. If such devices are being used to spy on political activists, she said, “it would be a significant violation of people’s civil rights.”

Wired first wrote about it on the 21st of Sept.

The Flickr dragonfly photo lords and lordesses need to work on getting some pics.

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".


  1. A real dragonfly would never be caught in a stationary net (like the mist nets used by my daughter in her research–for trapping bats) but I don’t think a CIA dragonfly would be as smart as a real one. So if dragonfly surveillance becomes a problem for, say, peace demonstrations, maybe the solution is to put up mist nets all around the area of the gathering.

    Also, Since the dragonflies would probably try to get close-up photos of those who speak at peace rallies, perhaps equipping the speaker’s podium with a common butterfly net would also be useful.

    I’ll keep an eye out, the next time I go to any kind of public thing that the government disapproves of. I don’t want to pretend to be an expert or anything, but I think I could tell a real dragonfly from a government one, even without catching it in a net.

    If I get a photo of one I’ll submit it to Flickr.

  2. My blog doesn’t mind if you comment twice. You could comment ten times in a row and it would be perfectly fine with it.

    I have things so that if someone submits a comment with a link then I have to moderate it, because I was getting so much one link spam. I may change it.

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