Death feigning to avoid mating is one of the rarest behaviors in nature but dragonflies indulge in this phenomenon. To avoid coercion from the male dragonflies for mating, death is the last resort in which the female dragonflies opt. Till now it has been a very successful idea to avoid mating.
According to the story shared by Newsweek, female dragonflies fake their death so that they can avoid male dragonflies. Male dragonflies force and threaten the female dragonflies to mate with them since the population of male dragonflies is more than the female ones. This coercion affects the health and reproducing capacity of the female dragonflies due to which they avoid the male dragonflies.
Since they do not take no for an answer female dragonflies have to fake their death. They fake their death to take care of their offspring and themselves. The female dragonflies fall from the sky to the ground and they stay there on the ground motionless until the male dragonflies leave them alone.
The female dragonflies fall from the sky at a good speed. Any layman if sees a dragonfly falling from the sky will believe that it has died due to which it fell from the sky. But as soon as you go near the dragonfly to check it, it flies away as if nothing was wrong with it in the first place.
Rassim Khelifa, a zoologist from the University of Zurich studied that carnivorous insects fake their death to avoid mating. Usually, it is female insects faking their death to male insects. In general, it is a rare tactic among animals.
Khelifa started his study after he witnessed a dragonfly drop dead to the ground on July 5, 2015. But what fascinated him was that as soon as the other dragonfly left the one which dropped to the ground, it flew away as if nothing had happened. Khelifa wrote, “I witnessed a dragonﬂy dive to the ground while being pursued by another dragonﬂy… the individual that crashed was a female, and that she was lying motionless and upside down on the ground.”
He then found out that since more male dragonflies existed than the female dragonflies in population. Thus more the proportion of the male dragonflies more was the cases of female dragonflies faking their deaths. 77.7% of the female dragonflies were successful in deceiving the male dragonflies through their fake deaths. And on a total of 86% cases were there in which female dragonflies crashed to the ground to fake their deaths.
By faking their death, the female dragonflies can live a longer and healthier life. Also, they can reproduce more offsprings that way. It is believed that it is not a rare behavior it is simply very difficult to detect this behavior.