Resourcefulness of Dragonflies

The researchers followed the lives of women dragonflies and noticed strange behavior when faced with unwanted male attention.

Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, which was studying dragonflies for the last decade, said he collected larvae of dragonflies living along the wetlands in Switzerland.

Namely, when males chase females, if the females consider that they do not need their attention, they fall on the floor and play dead until the moment when the male gives up and leaves.

Khalif said, that he had never observed such behavior. Subsequent studies have shown that this case occurred just then. His study of the behavior of dragonflies titled “Acting death to avoid male coercion” was published in the journal Ecology.

He followed 31 female, of which 27 females acted dead, in order to avoid males. In most cases, their acting was successful.

The question is why females are desperate to avoid males?

Khelifa says a relationship with another male may be risky for the female. Because it can remove the sperm left in the female from previous mating.

Males of this genus developed a sophisticated structure of the genitals which ejects sperm in the reproductive tract very accurately.

Because of this, one mating is enough to fertilize an egg and there are no advantages that females bear surplus population. Therefore, there is no need for a second mating because it is a detriment to their survival.

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