When you return from an outing with a camera full of dragonflies in flagrante delicto, as it were, there’s really only one thing to be done: dust off the “Pornochz” track your dear friend Eric Kenning composed for your article on writing bedroom scenes and create a movie of surpassing educational interest. Eric has been kind enough to allow this retasking of his tune. The movie itself came together in a trice, as if it were meant to be. And now, after causing you to shiver with anticipa….tion, I click upload, and embed, and present to you, for your viewing pleasure:
The Delectation of Dragonflies
Thank you, Eric Kenning, for making this possible.
I hope you enjoyed our educational film, my darlings. Adult education, as it were, eh? And I have, for your further edification, included the stills below for those who couldn’t endure the film, or wish to study said stills at their leisure. I have also included a brief history of how this film came together for those students of cinematic history who live for such things.
The opportunity to create this film came to me as I ambled along the boardwalk through the wetlands at Juanita Bay. There I was, wandering happy as you please, when some large writhing something nearly sideswiped me. I confess a brief moment of anxiety. Was this some never-before-seen, enormous, and above all angry insect that would soon have my head off? Or simply two dragonflies so busy making more dragonflies they’d forgotten to look where they were going?
Usually, my only experience with dragonflies demonstrating their mating strategies has been with them in understandably erratic flight, making them difficult to photograph; or the passionate embrace ends before I can bring the camera into focus; or they inconsiderately give a public exhibition when I haven’t got a camera with me. This time, we have a couple who quite considerately landed, and whose passion did not flag for some time.
I’m sure many of us used to wonder, as children, why dragonflies sometimes flew double. If your parents were anything like mine, they were too embarrassed to explain, and the thing remained a mystery until some considerate soul clued us in. It’s time we stopped blushing and started being honest with our children. This is a perfectly natural act. Nothing to be ashamed about.
We know from relative positions which is which here. The male is on top, holding the female’s head with the claspers on his tail. This, apparently, is quite stimulating to the female.
Now, the male has prepared for this little encounter by depositing the stuff of future generations on his second abdominal segment. You’d think that, having produced it near the bit that goes in to clasping his chosen love close, it would stay put and find a more direct route to the female, but dragonfly evolution apparently developed some, how shall we say, kinks.
So, his spermatophores being where they are, mere head-clasping is not going to ensure the continuation of the species. I’m assuming here that head-clasping is quite stimulating to the female, because it goes on for a bit, and then, in what one can only assume is equivalent to an orgasm, she curls herself up, reaching lustily for her mate’s spermatophores. At this juncture, they may form a circle, or, more romantically, a heart shape.
Alas, I did not catch this portion of the program. All I seem to have got was either foreplay or afterglow.
That portion of the program – the wheel formation – may last up to a solid quarter of an hour. Mind you, this sometimes happens in mid-flight. I’m assuming those aren’t the ones that last so long – the wheel formation can take place in the air, on the ground, in the bushes…
Once the happy couple has consummated their union, they may remain combined as the female goes about the serious business of depositing her eggs. Depends on the species. You can get quite a lot of detail about it here at this site, if you wish.
I would like to thank the dragonflies of Juanita Bay for their cooperation in the making of this film. Once again, my heartfelt thanks and undying affection go out to my friend Eric and his wonderful wife Lourdes, who I hope enjoyed seeing her husband’s mad keyboard skillz put to work in educational cinematography.
And thank you, my dear readers, without whom this idea may never have come to fruition. Most of the joy in doing things like this is imagining you might be entertained. David Attenborough it ain’t, but still, I do hope you enjoyed it.