What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done to get rid of a guy?
Whatever it was, female dragonflies have done something more dramatic: they play dead to ditch unwanted males.
< Blue dasher from Arizona Dragonflies
Rassim Khelifa, a doctoral student at the University of Zurich. Khelifa was studying the effect of climate change on dragonfly eggs and while out collecting some he noticed this behavior in the females. When harassed by sexual advances, typically on their way to an egg-laying site, 27 in 35 females pretended to drop dead, landing in leaf litter where their still bodies went undetected by the male who depends on movement and color to see his would-be conquests, reports Richa Malhotra on Live Science.
If faking death to get out of a sexual encounter seems over the top, consider that male dragonflies have spoon-shaped penises, spenises. They're barbed to help anchor them to the female and the spoon shape is handy for scooping out previously-deposited sperm so their DNA will get passed down instead since the last one in this particular pool wins. No wonder these males keep trying and the women keep "dying."
And the act works.. Of the 27 females that feigned death rather than copulate with another male, 21 succeeded in duping the drip, so roughly 3/4s of dragonfly females are better actresses than Kristen Stewart or Andie McDowell.
But they'll never get so much as a swag bag for it, just some peace, which is sometimes all a girl needs.
Yours truly lecturing an outsized male. "If you were carrying around hundreds of eggs would you want some pervert pokin' at ya with his little spoon-penis? His speenis? I didn't think so.