Adult life of a dragonfly consists of two phases, the pre-reproductive period
or maturation period and the reproductive period. Maturation period generally
lasts 2 weeks. However there are species of dragonflies with which this period
can take between 1 to 60 days, depending on climate and weather.
The reproductive period begins when a sexually mature adult male dragonfly flies to the mating site. The mating site is usually the margin of water where the eggs are laid. The males usually arrive earlier than the females and space themselves out along the water or the shore. Some males can be very territorial of this space and will defend it vigorously. Some dragonfly species have a courtship dance which the males perform for the females. But usually mating occurs immediately when a female enters the space.
The mating position is very unique among insects. The male clasps onto the female by the top of her thorax or prothorax, forming a tandem position. This position then draws the female abdomen toward the male creating a "wheel position". The couple can remain like this for a few seconds to several hours. When it comes time for the female to lay the eggs the male either leaves or stays behind to protect the female and the eggs from other males and intruders. Some males even remain attached to the females while she lays her eggs.
See next pages for diagrams....
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