How Female Dragonflies Fake Death to Avoid Male Attention
Reno CharltonPublished in January 2020 / Updated in December 2020
There are lots of women out there that may have gone to extreme lengths to avoid the attention and advances of a man. Naturally, when you are not attracted to a man or you have no interest in being linked with them romantically, your first instinct is to try and escape his attentions using whatever means you can. However, most women use methods that are within reason such as ignoring texts or sending a firm signal to demonstrate they are not interested.
Well, while you may use methods that are discreet and not too hurtful to men, the same cannot be said for the females of the dragonfly species. According to scientific research, these females sometimes go to extreme lengths to escape the clutches of their male counterparts – they literally drop from the sky and pretend to be dead! Most women would agree that this is certainly a novel and very extreme way of trying to keep males at bay!
Resisting the Sexual Advances of Males
According to experts, this type of behavior is often seen among a type of dragonfly known as the moorland hawker, but it is also thought that other variants of the species could use the same tactic. One researcher, Rassam Kehlifa, observed the behavior of female dragonflies some years ago, where he watched 27 out of 31 female dragonflies plummet to the ground from the sky and play dead in order to keep insistent males at bay.
So, why do these females engage in this behavior? Well, according to Kehlifa, once coupling is over, female moorland hawkers do not stick around with the male they mated with. Instead, they move on with their fertilized eggs to find somewhere safe to lay them. However, the fact that the female is in this condition means she is more likely to attract attention from other males who want their piece of the action! Naturally, this is something that the pregnant female wants to avoid, and in order to do this she takes the drastic action of pretending to be dead.
These dragonflies copulate while in the air, with the female allowing her reproductive areas to be accessed by the male while still in flight. The act is actually finished on the ground, and once it is completed, the female then flies off to lay her eggs. However, this is easier said than done when you suddenly have a swarm of other males taking an interest, and it seems that for many females the only way to stop them is to feign death by plummeting to the ground and lying perfectly still.
A Safeguard for the Female
One other thing to keep in mind is that this act is not done purely out of the female’s lack of interest in other mates once the eggs are fertilized. Scientists have discovered that the number of eggs the female has is limited and with repeating coupling, her reproductive organs could sustain damage. So, part of the reason behind the female faking death is to protect herself, her eggs, and her reproductive system.