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Old 10-18-2011, 05:37 AM   #1
The Bug Whisperer
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Monroe County, WV, USA
Default Sex Among Dragonflies...

"It’s Complicated: Dragonfly Love Comes Calling"

Dr. Michael L. May of Rutgers University, “...main author of the modern revision of the standard identification manual “Dragonflies of North America,” editor of the International Journal of Odonatology, describer and namer of six species of damselfly and dragonfly, expert at insect energetics — is spending his last year at Rutgers starting a project that should keep him busy well into retirement: understanding the mechanics of dragonfly sex.”

"Dragonflies have dizzyingly complicated and varied reproductive organs. Their penises are multijointed contraptions resembling high-tech prosthetic legs accessorized with horns, brushes, hooks, grabbers, spreaders and other implements designed to effect both the deposit and the retrieval of sperm, among other things. Females are comparably intricate, if not complementarily so — as the evolutionary arms race would have it, Madame Dragonfly has designed herself to thwart her mate’s ability to remove his rivals’ sperm"
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

Henry Ward Beecher
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
POM Judge & Official Non Gardener
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

Wow! Dragonflies often seen flying around attached are .just the beginning of a very interesting explanation!
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
Butterfly Educator Extraordinaire
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ventnor City, New Jersey, USA

Excellent article! Thank you for sharing, Suunto! I am preparing a presentation on dragonflies for next March. Not sure if I will be talking about dragonfly sex, though...lol
"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." ~Hans Christian Anderson

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Old 10-21-2011, 06:37 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: S. Grafton, Massachusetts

It's strange. While not a formal educator, I've found myself to be the go to naturalist for many of the neighborhood kids. Only due to their own lack of knowledge do I seem wise and learned. Still, I enjoy sharing what I know and helping them connect to the natural world.
On a few occasions They've asked about bugs who were mating which left me in an awkward position. I don't want to lie to them but, things being what they are, I don't feel comfortable opening up a discussion along those lines. I usually either say I don't know (a plea I'm never afraid to cop to) or simply say that they're mating and discourage any further exploration of the matter. It's a difficult situation because we can't really discuss sex with children (at least other people's children), even when talking about nature. Yet sex and mating is one of the most significant behaviors in the natural world. You could argue that it is the most significant behavior. To discuss the life cycle without addressing mating seems to be leaving a big hole in the matter.
With my own daughter, I took the position that if she was old enough to ask the question, then she was old enough to get an answer. It was my job to make the answer understandable for her. Luckily for me, this did not lead to any awkward questions. Surprising, as we spent considerable time on farms when she was young. Explaining bug mating is one thing, horses or cows might challenge my intent to always answer her questions honestly and thoroughly.
I know this is a minor issue. When a child is ready to know something, they will learn it, especially with the greatest research tool in human history at their fingertips. It's just that the last comment by bridget brought this recently experienced dilemma to mind and I thought I'd share it.
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dragonflies, sex

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