Some Female Dragonflies Will Fake Death to Curve Males
First there was ‘ghosting’, Now There’s ‘2pac’ing”
Just when you thought your dating situation was dire, Zurich biologist Rassim Khelifa arrives with news of a species that might actually have it worse.
In his recently published paper in the journal Ecology, Khelifa writes about the female mooreland hawker — a particular dragonfly that will often pretend to die in order to avoid sexual relations with a male suitor.
One day, the University of Zurich professor was walking the Swiss Alps when he saw a dragonfly fall from mid-air onto the ground and land on its back. Another dragonfly followed close behind, hovered above the “dead” dragonfly for a moment or two, then decided to fly onward - perhaps in search of a more lively mate. Khelifa was astonished when the seemingly lifeless hawker woke from its slumber and resumed flying in the opposite direction.
After the observation, Khelifa led a study of the species where he observed 31 male/female chases. Out of these 31 cases, females faked death 27 times and were successful 21 times. If you ask me, that’s a pretty good percentage.
Scientists suspect that these dragonflies likely avoid male pursuers because they are protecting their eggs. While female dragonflies may mate with multiple partners, the last male to hit will be the one who fertilizes the eggs.
Aside from faking their deaths, sometimes the females will also find cover in vegetation to avoid being noticed.
So ladies, when a creepy dude is relentlessly persistent in his pursuit of you -it may be helpful to take some notes from the mooreland hawker. You may not have to hide in an onion patch or feign death — but that 78% success rate is definitely nothing to sneeze at.