Relatable: Female dragonflies would rather play dead than mate with a male
If you’re a woman and you’ve ever just averted eye conduct with people on the street or relied on headphones to avoid men trying to talk to you, you might have more in common with female dragonflies and their mating habits than you originally thought. A new study found that that female dragonflies will “drop out of the sky” and play dead to avoid male advances. Uh, we totally get it.
Researcher Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, watched this happen while he was collecting larvae. A male was coming after a female to try to mate, and the female just crash landed and lay very, very still until he flew away!
Ah-mazing. We wonder if the male went home and tweeted about how rude she was being to all of his friends.
All jokes aside, it looks like there’s a biological reason for this. So it just takes one sexual encounter for a female moorland hawker to fertilize all of her eggs. But when they lay their eggs, they’re usually alone, since they aren’t guarded by their male mates like other breeds of dragonfly. So male dragonflies are constantly asking for it. But if the female copulates while her other eggs are fertilized and waiting to be laid, it could destroy their reproductive tract. Hence, just crash landing, since obviously the males won’t take “I’m already full of eggs” for an answer.
“Females may only behave in this way if male harassment is intense,” Khelifa said. Otherwise, they just hang out in areas where males aren’t prone to look for them, like in swampy vegetation.
Playing dead is pretty brutal, but it makes total sense. Avoiding the males of their species is vital to their health and their safety — JUST LIKE HUMANS. This is just the latest news in “animals who avoid men.” There are other species of dragonfly and mantis that eat their male mates after sex and even a butterfly species evolving without men at all.
Yo, male insects, leave the women alone. Playing dead takes up way too much time.