Some Female Dragonflies Fake Death to Avoid Having Sex

In order to avoid males of the species bothering them for sex, female dragonflies fake their own deaths, falling from the sky and lying motionless on the ground until the suitor goes away.

A study by Rassim Khelifa, a zoologist from the University of Zurich is the first time scientists have seen odonates feign death as a tactic to avoid mating, and a rare instance of animals faking their own deaths for this purpose. Odonates is the order of carnivorous insects that includes dragonflies and damselflies.

Khelifa notes there are few instances of animals faking their own deaths…Even though it is a risky strategy, faking death appears to help females survive longer and produce more offspring by avoiding coercion. “Sexual death feigning is one of the rarest behaviors in nature, and due to its scarcity, it has received little attention in behavioral ecology,” the study said. “Currently, it is restricted only to arthropods. It would be interesting to know whether this scarcity is true or just an artefact related to the lack of behavioral investigations or difficulty in detecting this behavior.”

Sure seems like a helluva smart way to avoid an unwanted situation.

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