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Sympetrum danae #3

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 18 July 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Dragonfly sex involves one very unusual step: before mating, the male must transfer sperm from his sperm-producing genitals (located in segment 9, at the tip of his abdomen) to the accesory genitals located on segments 2 and 3, underneath his abdomen. These include a sperm resrvoir and a penis. Male dragonflies accomplish this transfer solo, before they attempt to copulate. This type of sperm transfer is unique to the Odonates among insects.
The female has her genitals (also located in segment 9 at the tip of her abdomen) clasped against the male's penis and sperm reservoir. The male holds the female behind the head with his claspers, and she holds onto his abdomen with her legs. This position is called a mating wheel. It is just increddible that they are able to fly while united thus, albeit slowly and clumsily, with the male towing the female.

Image: Kalmthout (BE) - 07/07/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/200 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

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Raul from Elmhurst, New York, United States

Amazing macro.. great detail!!

18 Jul 2010 7:56am

@Raul: Thank you for you visit and comment, Raul.

Katherine from Bristol, United Kingdom

Wow! The details are so clear and the colours are incredible! Interesting to know a bit more about what's happening too!

18 Jul 2010 3:48pm

@Katherine: Thank you very much, Katherine. I always try to include some information on the species in the picture. For me documenting a species with photo's is one thing, the other is to know as much as possible about it. Glad you apreciate this.

Olivier from Manage, Belgium


18 Jul 2010 7:09pm

@Olivier: Thank you very much, Olivier. I'm glad you like this image.

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

une attitude typique des libellules ,mais qui offre toujours un jolie rendu ,ici les details sont fabuleux ,surtout les ailes et les yeux ,impressionant !
5 etoiles johan !
amitiés !

18 Jul 2010 8:01pm

@marc battault: It is indeed the normal behaviour with dragonflies and i'm always glad when I am withness of this ...
I would have liked some more sharpness on the female as well, but could not get in the right position to acomplish that. Maybe next time.

Becky from los angeles, United States

Unbelievable shot!

18 Jul 2010 8:52pm

@Becky: Which part is it you can't believe? :D Thanks very much, Becky.

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

A wonderful macro !

19 Jul 2010 3:05am

@Calusarus: Thank you very much for your visit and comment.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Excellent focus and detail on the male. It is amazing how they do this. Just this morning I was watching pairs of dragonflies do this and trying to shoot them in flight.

19 Jul 2010 3:56am

@Julie Brown: I know the male is much sharper then the female. I should have gone a bit more te the left but then te second branch in the background would have given problems for the composition - now this is almost completely hidden by the first one. It's sometimes hard to take choises.
Dit you succeed in the inflight shots ? It would be amazing to see those shots !

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

I think you like the insect porn ;) I am teasing you of course. It really is fascinating. Their bodies contorted like they are is a work of natural art.

25 Jul 2010 9:28pm

@Dutçh: Guilty :-)

Canon EOS 400D
1/200 second
ISO 200
150 mm