Female Dragonflies Literally Fake Their Own Deaths To Avoid Males

You’ll probably be able to relate to the dragonfly if you’ve ever gone to far-out lengths to avoid someone!

Some female dragonflies would rather play dead than be intimate with their male counterparts!

Although this ordeal has only been observed in moorland hawkers dragonflies, it is possible that other members of the family take part in the process as well.

Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland watched 27 out of 31 female dragonflies falling from the sky after pretending to be dead while he was collecting larvae samples in the Swiss Alps a few years ago. He concluded that this was a means of trying to get the predatory males to buzz off.

Female Moorland hawkers do not stay as a couple with their male mates after sex and their eggs are fertilized leaving them a lot more vulnerable to future harassment.

National Geographic wrote as follows:

“…The mating ritual of the moorland hawker dragonfly—common around the ponds and wetlands of Europe, Asia, and North America—begins with what biologist Rassim Khelifa calls “an acrobatic aerial copulation.” While in flight, the female Aeshna juncea contorts so that her lady parts, which are near the end of her body, connect with the male’parts, which are near his thorax. Thus joined in a lopsided-heart shape, they land and complete the act, whereupon the female will head off to lay her eggs.

Before she can do that, other males may show up seeking sex. Evolution predisposes her to resist: She has limited eggs, her reproductive tract can be damaged by repeated copulations, she’s already been inseminated by the mate she chose, and the dragonfly male part is structured so that it removes any sperm present before making a new deposit. So to avoid further se*, she may fall down dead—or more precisely, she may fake death, dropping from the air and lying motionless in the ground cover…”

This behavior itself was evolved to protect females against aggressive males but it doesn’t always work.

The ordeal of the female dragonfly has actually recently been caught on film as you will see below:

As you can see in the video, the female fully dedicates herself to faking her death and remained completely still and motionless until the male dragonfly has flown away.

It’s amazing how intelligent these insects are how smart these flying insects are. Did you have any idea that dragonflies did this or were you in the dark like I was?