How Do Dragonflies Mate?


2 Answers

Meg Hayes Profile
Meg Hayes answered
Some dragonflies and damselflies species show very strong territorial behaviour while some species do not. Courtship and recognition includes the male showing his ovipositing site to the female. By courtship, the male and female can make sure they are the same species and are suitable mates. The female may reject the mating if she thinks the ovipositing site is not good enough.
However, courtship is not so common in dragonflies and damselflies. For most species, no courtship can be seen. For some species, after the female enters the male territory, she will immediately be grasped and clasped by the male and the couple will mate. Some species males just snatch unwary females while they're warming in the sun. Some species males even grab the immature ones, shimmer-fresh after emergence. 

For the non-territory species, there will also be the courtship and recognition stages. They may swarm and several males may pursuit the same female. This is common in damselflies.

If the female does not accept the male, various signals will be made, depending on the species. The most common is the downward curving of her abdomen. If the female indicates acceptance, the male will grasp her thorax with his legs. The male grasps the female head or thorax and curves his abdomen to clasp her prothorax or head with his anal appendages to form the tandem pair. This action usually takes less than a second.

All insect males have their genital opening for sperm at the ninth abdominal segment. Dragonflies/damselflies males have beside the first genitalia their secondary genitalia, which is the accessory organ on the second abdominal. Sperm is moved from the first genitalia into the secondary genitalia just before copulation.

Dragonflies usually start copulation in flight, the male swings up the female. The female then curls her abdomen forwards to contact with the secondary genitalia in order to receive sperm. The male and female form the heart shape wheel and it is known as Wheel Position.

After copulation the couple may separate or remain in tandem, depends on species. A long period of Tandem Position may be occurred after copulation. The couple may be at rest or in flight and there is no genital contact. The reason could be the male waiting for the female for the readiness of oviposition. By holding the female he can make sure she does not mate with other male before laying eggs.
Aun Jafery Profile
Aun Jafery answered
Dragonflies are either territorial or not. If territorial they aggressively clasp females entering their territory. Males have to display their oviposition site to the female. This process is the courtship stage and the pair identifies whether they are the same species. Then the female indicates if she is willing to mate and this is usually done by way of curving the abdomen. The male then proceeds to clasp the female. Male dragonflies transfer their sperm from their primary to their secondary genitalia to facilitate mating before clasping the female.

The male has appendages at the end of its abdomen which help him to clasp the female and the size and position of these clasps fits only the right species. He may either fly in tandem with the female or bring her down to a stationary position by clasping the back of her head. The male flaps his wings and flexes his abdomen to indicate readiness to which the female responds. They may even curl to make their abdomens meet, in which case they form a heart (also known as the wheel position). Once the sperm is transferred, the male may leave or remain attached to the female to make sure that she does not mate further and in some instances till she oviposits the eggs either on water or by depositing them in plants with the help of her sharp ovipositor.
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Anonymous commented
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