Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Large Red Damselfly - Mini-series of insect stories


Here is story number 3 in my insect mini-series


Large Red Damselflies (West Cork, ROI)




The most enjoyable part of his job was done. All he had to do now was hang onto her head.

It was a bit boring, but if he let her go another damselfly might catch her and turf out his sperm. So he waited.





From his leafy vantage he surveyed his realm with satisfaction.

When he had reached maturity he had searched for a good breeding ground. The vegetation beside this slow running stream offered an excellent habitat.

Yet it was hard work. There always seemed to be another male wanting his piece of prime real estate and he was constantly defending his territory. His reward for his vigilance was this female who had flown in to check him out and found him worthy.

From the moment she arrived and indicated her willingness, he grabbed her by her thorax before moving into the tandem pose while he readied his sperm. It didn’t take him long. Within a few seconds he changed position and they curled themselves into a wheel to mate. Copulation took a good deal longer - about fifteen minutes – although he didn’t mind that! 



When they finished she tried to fly away but he grabbed her head and held her in the tandem position again. It was only by forcing her to stay attached to him, that he could guarantee she wouldn’t mate with rival males before she laid her eggs. 


He looked down into the stream at the submerged leaves and stems; the perfect place to lay her eggs was right below them.

He wished she would get on with it.




8 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I'm old enough to read this! And fifteen minutes? Many women would be pleased with half that!

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    1. I know! Astonishing, isn't it? My research for these insect stories is throwing up so much more than I dreamed and crafting a story from that research is proving an enjoyable exercise.

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  2. Who'd have guessed, so much effort for such a smallish creature. :))

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    1. Effort indeed! And their life cycle is so short.

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  3. How long do they live, Susan? Pretty little things :) Neat piece of writing.

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  4. Hi Jo, glad you enjoyed the post. Mature adults live for about forty days.

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  5. We see the pretty creatures flitting about and rarely think about their complex lives.

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  6. Exactly, Patsy, and this is what I love about observing nature and wildlife, because it triggers my curiosity.

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