MAY 02, 2017 06:25 AM PDT

To Evade Males, Female Dragonflies Stage Their Own Death

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

How do you respond to unwanted contact from the other sex? Do you: A) give them the cold shoulder, B) politely say you aren’t interested, C) raise your voice and tell them to go away or you’re calling the cops, or D) play dead?

If you chose "D," then you might have some dragonfly DNA invested in your being. According to a study published in the journal Ecology, female dragonflies have been observed playing dead to evade unwanted sexual relationships with male dragonflies.

Image Credit: Josch13/Pixabay

It may seem like the oldest trick in the book for pet dogs, but perhaps it’s useful as both a mating and survival technique tool in some cases.

The study showed how female dragonflies use this behavior after they have already mated so that the female won’t have to mate for a second time (or more) in a row. After all, once the mating process has been complete, the female has other things to worry about besides getting it on again, such as ensuring her eggs survive and hatch.

The research also notes how female dragonflies try to find secluded and highly-vegetated areas to lay their eggs such that they won’t be bothered by other males, but sometimes they can be harassed when traveling to and from their chosen location.

In this case, when all else fails, they break out the ‘play dead’ behavior and the male eventually gets bored of trying to fondle the ‘dead’ female and moves on to look for a replacement.

When staging their own death, the females will often fall to the ground when bothered for the best results. Once the male moves on, the female would go about its business once again, which made the behavior quite obvious to the researchers who conducted the study.

Most appear to be successful in their act too; out of more than 30 individual female dragonflies that were observed during the study, at least 21 of them were successful in causing the male to lose interest.

Lead researcher Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland noticed the behavior completely by accident while collecting dragonfly eggs and was surprised by the behavior when he first saw it, despite working with dragonflies for a decade.

Source: Mother Nature Network

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 22, 2020
11,000 Scientists Agree-The Climate Crisis is Here
A worldwide coalition of more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries warns "clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergen...
JAN 22, 2020
Technology
JAN 22, 2020
An Ant the Size of a Lion?
Having an ant the size of a lion isn’t an impossible idea—at least through augmented reality. Watch this augmented reality zoo: What exactly is...
JAN 22, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 22, 2020
The Sequence of the Devil Worm Genome is Revealed
The 'Devil Worm' was found in an aquifer and is the deepest animal that's been found living beneath the surface of the Earth....
JAN 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 22, 2020
Is Cannabis Helping America Sleep?
Researchers find cannabis is being used as a sleep-aid in Colorado. Many Americans struggle with sleep disturbances -- some estimates put the percentage at...
JAN 22, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 22, 2020
The Unusual Microbiomes of Bats and Birds
Humans might have a critical dependence on the microbes in their guts, but it seems that not all animals do....
JAN 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 22, 2020
Scientists Assess GHG Emissions Related to Palm Oil Land Conversion
Palm oil production remains problematic in several ways, and a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham has quantified one of these probl...
Loading Comments...