Every woman knows what it is like to be the recipient of unwanted sexual advancements from the opposite sex. Fending off unwanted sexual advancements from males is simply a part of life for human females. But, believe it or not, this sexual behavior is common among other animals as well, especially dragonflies. After a female dragonfly mates, the female’s only interest is laying eggs, and providing care for its offspring. This is why, when one or more male dragonflies are following a female, the female will suddenly drop to the ground, and play dead. In other words a female dragonfly would rather be considered dead than to entertain the romantic notions of a persistent and obtuse male dragonfly. Once this happens the male dragonflies most likely puzzle over the situation for a few moments and then they fly away, obviously completely unaware that they were being fooled.
Researchers have only recently learned that female dragonflies will play dead just to avoid unwanted attention from males. Apparently, male dragonflies are so bad at taking a hint that female dragonflies are forced to pretend like their dead in order to lose their attention. During the summer of 2015, Rassim Khelifa, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, was collecting larval specimens from dragonflies in order to assess their response to climate change back at his lab. Khelifa eventually discovered the act of playing dead among female dragonflies, and noted that females only played dead in order to avoid their male counterparts. Khelifa further noticed that females would first attempt to locate an old egg-laying site in order to hide from nearby males. However, this method was often unsuccessful since females would often be harassed on their way to and from the egg-laying sites. After the failure of this method, the female dragonflies would then resort to playing dead, which seems to work well.
Have you ever encountered an animal of any type playing dead? If you have, then what type of animal was it?