Monday, November 22, 2010

Saddlebag Dragonflies

I think I got the name right for this couple. I didn't write it down, which is always dangerous. Anyway, the day before this pic was taken, I saw the dragonflies on the wing, looking very lumpy. I couldn't figure it out. Turns out, their wings are darkly colored near the body, making them look like they are carrying saddlebags, hence, the name. When we saw them mating, I was quite surprised. I had never seen dragonflies mating, and had thought that only damselflies mate in the wheel position. Odonata, the damsel- and dragonsflies, mate in an odd fashion. The male transfers his sperm to the thorax so that he can use the claspers at the end of his abdomen to hang on to the female's neck. Then she bends the tip of her abdomen to his thorax to get the sperm. Then, he hangs on to her while she lays the eggs in the water, thus making it very difficult for another male to get involved. It is amazing what antics certain species go through! Just to make sure that their genes are the ones that get into the next generation.

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