Female Dragonflies Fake Their Own Deaths To Avoid Males


Look, we’ve all been there. When you can’t be arsed to have sex so you just play dead – right guys?

Well, female dragonflies certainly know what I’m saying because they actually do that if they are being pursued by a male they’re not interested in.

Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, witnessed the sassy behaviour for the first time in the moorland hawker dragonfly.


While collecting samples in the Swiss Alps, Rassim saw a female crash-dive to the ground while being pursued by a male.

The female completely faked her own death and lay motionless on her back until the keen suitor fucked off.

In ten years of studying dragonflies, Rassim was ‘surprised’ by what he saw and had never seen the act of playing dead.

He said:

Females may only behave in this way if male harassment is intense. It’s likely that females expanded its use to overcome male coercion.


He observed 27 out of 31 females plummeting to the ground and playing dead plunging at a high speed and putting their lives at risk.

A similar behaviour has been observed in species of spider, robber fly, and mantis.

Khelifa is interested in finding out whether the behaviour is unique to species that lay eggs alone or whether it is more widespread.

… like in humans?