#16 My Re-enchantment Story


Photo. After mating a different Blue-Eyed Darner laid in the moss. We were wrong, thinking he was dead.

A month after emerging from the water where he’d been the past four years, the Meadowhawk spent his days hunting gnats and looking for a mate. Today, the competition was fierce, more males patrolling the pond than females. The chances of finding a lone female were slim compared to interrupting a liaison between an existing couple. He’d prepared by translocating his sperm from his genital pore, an opening near the end of his abdomen (the ninth of ten segments) to his penis in the second segment. Then, in the distance, a perfect female attracted his full attention. That a different male was attached to the back of her head and that they flew across the pond in tandem, did not dissuade him. He launched a surprise attack aimed midway along the enemy abdomen with enough force to break the bond connecting them. He then circled back above her and pulling up short, grabbed her head with his cerci-tipped abdomen, and guided her away. In safe space he maneuvered beneath her. She then grasped his abdomen just in front of where it attached to her head and guided the tip of hers toward his sperm filled penis. They touched. She liked how he fit and how he felt and they clamped into place. He would transfer his sperm from his penis through her vagina via her genital pore into her bursa copulatrix, where she stores the results of her most recent coupling. But first, he used the flagellum attached to his penis to scrape away sperm that might be left from her previous ‘encounter’, increasing his chances that his genetics get passed on. Finished, his abdomen still attached to the back of her head, they fly off across the pond.  Her eggs drop down through the oviduct in her abdomen. Then she chooses. She directs her eggs to be fertilized into either her bursa or her spermatheca containing older sperm from many different males. In tandem she and her mate fly low across the pond dropping one just-fertilized egg each time she taps the surface with the tip of her tail.