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Sep 12 2012

World Premiere: The Delectation of Dragonflies

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?

Monsieur et Madame Dragonfly ensuring the continued success of the species.

Ah.

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.

Love among the rushes.

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.

I assume the have reached a peak of passion here.

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.

SF authors should study insects for new and interesting ideas as to how aliens might, ah, make more aliens.

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.

By this point, I was wondering if this was, perhaps, one of the species of dragonfly who can last for hours…

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.

By this time, my thoughts had begun to wander.

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…

Being a spectator begins to wane in interest when the two insist on maintaining the same position with only minor adjustments for lengthy periods.

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.

My feet have begun to ache, my back to stiffen, and my stomach to growl, and still Madame et Monsieur are preoccupied.

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 I’m spent, although apparently they aren’t.

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.

17 comments

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  1. 1
    rq

    YES YES YES!!! hahaha Very, very nice. Love the soundtrack. And gorgeous porn stars, too – I love dragonly blues and greens, they’re so very vibrant and shimmery.

    Speaking of kinks, did you know that dragonfly penises act like little brushes, presumably to clear out the previous male’s sperm in order to improve the chances of the present male’s sperm actually making it? Gives a whole new perspective on bottle brushes, if you ask me…

  2. 2
    rq

    I believe the species is this one?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Hawker

    1. 2.1
      heliconia

      It’s definitely an aeshnid, but A. cyanea is European.

      1. rq

        I’m sensing someone with a heightened interest in insects.
        Could it be an import? The bright blue colour is what I’m more or less focussing on. Although, if it’s something else, I’d say the A. constricta you mention; A. umbrosa doesn’t have the colouring to fit these pictures.

        1. heliconia

          Yeah, I’m now leaning towards A. conscripta. I think technically we can’t say for sure unless we look at them under a microscope (specifically, their naughty bits).

    2. 2.2
      heliconia

      Currently voting for Aeshna constricta or A. umbrosa, but I’m no expert and should probably stop wasting time looking at dragonfly pictures on the interwebs.

      1. rq

        You have not only wasted time on dragonfly pictures, you have been wasting it on DRAGONFLY PORN!!!

      2. rq

        PS I bookmarked that site. Now I know how you do it.

  3. 3
    Argle Bargle

    Dragonfly porn! Are there no depths you will not seek?

  4. 4
    RW Ahrens

    I didn’t know you were into our little insect buddies’ private lives!

    I was privileged a couple of years ago to witness (D70 in hand, fortunately) two grasshoppers in the throes of conjugal bliss, which I proceeded to record for the pleasure of consumers of grasshopper porn.

    Should you be so interested, I could forward a few of the more delectable morsels your way…

    1. 4.1
      Artor

      I had the surprising opportunity once to witness an adult dragonfly emerging from the skin of it’s nymph stage. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera handy, or I’d share the footage here, but it was pretty cool to watch, and the new adult had to hang out & show off for a while as his (?) wings unfurled and stiffened.

  5. 5
    heliconia

    Bow-chicka-wow-wow! Excellent pictures! I hope you return there in the spring to find us some dragonfly nymphs.

  6. 6
    Adrian

    At last! the wait was worth it. As I’m not familiar with the American Darners (called Hawkers in Europe)I can only agree that they are A.constricta as umbrosa female looks to be green not blue on the abdomen segments. (Unless google has them mixed up).

    Dana, I have been trying to send you some more Dragonfly porn but keep geting a message saying address invalid, help!

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    No offense, Dana, but I think I want a cigarette now.

    Objoke:

    Person 1: Do you smoke after sex?
    Person 2: Not if we do it right.

  8. 8
    azportsider

    This is nicely done, and my congratulations to you and “Dirk”, Dana. However, this isn’t the actual mating, but rather more like what passes for foreplay among the Odonata, so softcore, as opposed to hardcore porn.

  9. 9
    greg haworth

    Well, i’m assuming that Juanita Bay is on the shores of Lake Washington in the Seattle Area, and not in the Caribbean. If that’s the case then the Darners are either Paddle-tailed or Shadow.

    Great discussion about separating these two species can be found here:
    http://nwdragonflier.blogspot.com/2011/10/sorting-paddle-tailed-and-shadow.html

    greg haworth
    portland oregon

  10. 10
    LykeX

    This is great. I never knew how interesting insect sex was until a group of common houseflies decided to have an orgy on my laptop one warm summer’s day. It was most edifying.

    I’m amazed at the idea of mating while flying. Imagine the possibilities!

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