Mating Blue-tailed Damselflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) mating pair. Beds.

When damselflies mate, the male grasps the female by the front end of her thorax (the pronotum); but only if she is willing! Accepting his advance is not compulsory according to Chandler and Cham (2013) in their excellent book: Dragonfly. Together they form a heart-shaped tandem that can last for up to an hour. The male has two sets of genitalia, and has already moved sperm from the main set – at the back of the abdomen – to the secondary genitalia, near the front. He must be confident about finding a mate! The female then bends her abdomen round so that the tip comes in contact with the sperm stored in the accessory genitalia, below segments 2 and 3 on the male; as shown in this photograph of Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) mating. Once her eggs have been fertilized in this way, the pair fly off together – with the male still grasping her by the back – and she lays her eggs on water. Team work!

 Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) mating pair. Beds. UK

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