Is there anything more frustrating than a guy who won’t take no for an answer? They’re persistent, annoying, and no matter what you say - “I’ve got a boyfriend,” “I’m married,” “I’m gay,” “I’m asexual,” “I’m not interested” - they keep hitting on you.
You find yourself cornered, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, but there is one thing you probably haven’t tried yet; playing dead. And it works … for female dragonflies in Switzerland. These industrious insects have mastered the art of stopping unwanted male advances for good – they fake their own death. It might sound extreme or like an extremely good Lifetime movie, but it’s a tried and true method of getting male dragonflies to back the F off.
Swiss researchers were surprised when they witnessed something rarely seen in nature; faking one’s death to avoid sex.
Here’s what they saw.
A female dragonfly is minding her own business on the side of a river laying her previously fertilized eggs. That’s right, she’s already had sex and now she’s ready to settle down, lay her eggs and raise her baby dragonflies. But then along comes a male dragonfly looking to get lucky. The female wants no part of his sexual shenanigans, so she politely flies away. It’s the human equivalent of saying, “My boyfriend’s meeting me here” and moving seats at the bar. The male dragonfly won’t take no for an answer so he follows in hot (and hopefully heavy) pursuit.
What are her options? She’s just a dragonfly in this world who weighs less than a gram. She can’t outfly him, she can’t fight him, he’s clearly not taking the hint, so naturally she only has one option: pseudocide (that’s Latin for faking your own death). The female dragonfly dive bombs to the ground where she lays on her back motionless as if she were dead. Of course, her would-be suitor, still not getting it, hovers over her lifeless body. Finally realizing she’d rather be dead then in bed with him, this insect lothario flies away off to harass another unsuspecting lady dragonfly. And that’s when our damsel, no longer in self imposed distress, pops up and flies back to her unborn children.
Researchers witnessed unwanted sexual advances between dragonflies 31 times and found that during 27 of them, the female dragonfly pulled off the “I played dead to get out of sex” stunt. That’s pretty impressive data that shows the Jurassic Park quote, “life will find a way,” is still so true even if it means faking your own death.
While it might seem extreme, a death hoax to get out of a little sex is far less violent than what some other insects do.
The female Praying Mantis will eat the male post coitus (see, it could be worse, guys, at least with the dragonfly you leave with your member intact but your ego bruised). So, the next time you get cat called on the street, drunk dialed, or the “u up?” text, from someone unworthy, turn to your insect relationship handbook and channel your inner dragonfly. It’s guaranteed that doing a death drop in front of a guy who won’t stop hitting on you will get them out the door before you hit the floor.
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