Sex on the Pond

I finally got off my lazy ass and mowed the grass around my pond for the first time since last summer. It was waist-high and keeping me from getting close to the pond, due to the number of ticks it harbored. But with it freshly mowed, I can get to the pond without worrying too much about the damned ticks. They’re still there—you can’t get rid of them that easily—but their prevalence has been much reduced.
Now that I had regained access, I carried a lawn chair to the pond’s edge and parked myself in the shade with the sun at my back. There were Common Green Darners (Anax junius), Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta), Spangled Skimmers (Libellula cyanea), and Common Whitetails (Plathemis lydia). There were also several species of damselfly, most of which I can’t identify without keying they out.
But the most common dragonflies at the pond are the Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis.) The males were all around the edge, flying about, engaging in miniature dogfights and staking claim to the most prominent perches.

The number of females is smaller or, I suppose, they’re just more circumspect. I only saw two of them, but there have to be more than that or the male/female ratio is seriously askew.

I hadn’t been sitting long when I noticed one of those females hovering a short distance away, dropping eggs into the water.

It was very bright out and I was able to use a very fast shutter speed, 1/2500th of a second I believe. Dragonflies only beat their wings about 30 times per second (a bee has a rate 10x faster), and that shutter speed was almost fast enough to “freeze” her wings.

She was there doing her thing and minding her own business when a male decided she needed his “assistance.”

They briefly joined to form a wheel and copulated.

Briefly, indeed, the male soon departed, returning to his patrols and battles while the female resumed to her duties.

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