• Female dragonflies play dead to avoid amorous males

    By: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    Female dragonflies are one of only a few animal species that play dead to avoid mating or death, falling out of the sky and remaining motionless until the amorous male dragonfly leaves.

    That’s the conclusion of a new study in the journal Ecology by University of Zurich zoologist Rassim Khelifa, Newsweek reported.

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    Khelifa, who documented the behavior while studying dragonflies in Switzerland, said it’s the first time scientists have seen dragonflies feigning death as a means of avoiding mating. 

    “I witnessed a dragonfly dive to the ground while being pursued by another dragonfly. The individual that crashed was a female,” the scientist said, according to Newsweek. “She was lying motionless and upside down on the ground.”

    Khelifa said he expected the female would be unconscious or even dead, after crashing to the ground.

    “But she surprised me by flying away quickly as I approached,” Khelifa said.

    Scientists believe that by playing dead, the female dragonfly may survive longer and possibly reproduce more frequently and more successfully.

     

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