Some female dragonflies play dead when it comes to avoiding sexually aggressive males. The idea that female dragonflies might play dead to avoid being attacked by males is not new. In fact, it’s been a source of fascination for people for centuries.
The BBC reports that in Victorian times, scientists thought it was possible for some species of a dragonfly to fall into a “death pose,” which is where they lie motionless on the water’s surface and appear to be dead. This poses a problem for scientists trying to study them — they have to remove them from their habitat before they can be observed.
But now scientists think that some species may actually play dead as a way of avoiding sexual harassment. This could be useful if you’re trying to escape from an aggressive male who wants nothing more than your body parts in his mouth.
In contrast, other female dragonflies choose not to play dead when it comes to avoiding sexually aggressive males. They may either fly away from the male, or they may fight back by biting his neck or wings with their mandibles (jaws). This can be dangerous because some males have poison glands at the base of their legs, and if they bite you, you could be poisoned.
Female dragonflies aren’t always receptive to these attempts by male dragonflies. Some females will try to avoid mating with males altogether by playing dead! They’ll drop down into the water and make themselves look as small as possible so that no one will notice them floating upside-down in shallow.
Can dragonflies play dead?
Dragonflies are a type of insect that has many species, some of which are known to “play dead” to escape predators. These insects play dead by falling onto their backs and remaining motionless. They can also be found on the ground, where they appear as if they were dead.
Some dragonfly species, such as the American Kestrel, are known to play dead when they sense that they are being hunted. The American Kestrel will then fly up into the air and circle around until it is out of sight of its predator. The kestrel will then land on the ground in front of its victim and appear dead until it flies away again.
Other dragonfly species, such as the Eastern Whipscorpion, also play dead when they sense that they are being hunted by a predator. When this happens, the whip scorpion will fall onto its back and remain motionless for several minutes before it flies away again or dies from exhaustion or lack of oxygen.
When it comes to dragonflies, many species become aggressive when they are threatened. If a predator approaches, some species will “play dead,” pretending to be dead so that they can scare off the predator.
Many dragonfly species have been observed playing dead, but there is no documented evidence of this behavior in any other insects. It may be that only certain species of dragonflies are able to play dead or that those that can do so use it as a defense strategy against predators.
Dragonflies indeed have a pretty fascinating way of playing dead. Generally, dragonflies in the wild have to contend with being eaten by a whole host of animals, so it’s important that they remain vigilant at all times. They obviously can’t be flying about for 24 hours out of the day, which is why their eyes are so large and why their bodies generally move so slowly.
These adaptations allow them to keep a steady lookout for danger and fly away before an accident occurs. However, this isn’t always an option. In some cases, a dragonfly may have to simply play dead until its attached predator loses interest or is killed off—or something else distracts it enough that the dragonfly can make its escape.