Really not in the mood: Female dragonflies fake death to avoid sex from aggressive males

Image by Singapore Odonata

We know that sometimes, spouses may resort to tactics just to avoid intimacy with their partner.  But this recently discovered method by female dragonflies takes it to a whole new level. You might want to check your partner’s pulse the next time she denies making love with you.

After observing different dragonfly species, scientists have found out that the female Moorland Hawker Dragonflies fake their own deaths when faced with hyperly and sexually aggressive males.

The bizarre method include acting like freezing mid-air, crashing to the ground, and lying motionless, The National Geographic reported.

Rassim Khelifa, a biologist at the University of Zurich who published a new study on the phenomenon in the journal Ecology, says “In a lot of dragonflies, males try to seize the female with or without consent, the fittest — that is the fastest, most powerful male — is usually the one who mates.”

Scientists have classified the behavior as “sexual death feigning” which insects sometimes resort to; avoiding risk of injuries and sometimes death during forced mating.

Furthermore, scientists, particularly zoologists, also observed that the “death feint” usually occurs among dragonflies that have just given birth.  Shortly after a female lays her eggs, male dragonflies dash on to mate with her again.

When Khelifa studied the behavior more closely in the wild, he found out that the faking stunt works. More than 60 percent of the females he observed succeeded in deceiving the chasing males.

When he approached closer, the “dead” females flew away — proving they were completely alert the entire time.

All the females who did not perform the death feint were intercepted by the aggressive males — in regrets.

A Moorland Hawker Dragonly (Image by Wikimedia Commons)