Posts Tagged ‘damselfly mating’

I was not sure of the species of these damselflies when they flew by me in tandem last week at Green Spring Gardens, but I managed to track them visually until they landed on some floating vegetation. As some of you may recall, when damselflies mate, their bodies form a shape that resembles a sidewards heart, a position sometimes referred to as the “wheel” position. When mating is completed, the damselfly couples fly off together with the male still grasping the female by the back of her head and the male stays attached as the female deposits her eggs—that may have been why they landed on this vegetation.

When I returned home and was able to examine the damselflies closely, I was delighted to see that they were Dusky Dancers (Argia translata), a species that I rarely see. If you click on the photos, you can get a closer look at the stunning eyes and beautiful markings of these damselflies. I am particularly drawn to the pattern of thin blue rings around the abdomen of the male, the damselfly on the left that is perched almost vertically.

Dusky Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Damselfly mating is, to say the least, unusual and acrobatic. Yes, I felt a little like a voyeur as I observed this pair of Ebony Jewelwing damselflies (Calopteryx maculata) on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park.

Did you notice the sideways heart that their bodies form during this process? Yeah, I am a bit of a romantic, even when it comes to mating insects in the wild. I would recommend, though, that you not try this position at home, but leave it to the professionally trained damselflies. You might otherwise require an unplanned visit to a chiropractor.

Ebony Jewelwing mating

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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