Written by Nancy Miorelli
I love Valentine’s Day and its something that I like to share with my friends. Last year I started drawing “Insect Valentines” for my friends at work, where I’d couple insect biology and art. I had so much fun I drew another batch this year!
1) Wheel Position
While Dragonflies do this behavior too, Damselflies make a heart shape when they mate. The male grabs the female by her neck and drags her around as a form of mate guarding. She curls her abdomen up to his thorax, and takes his sperm from his secondary sex organ.
2) Misplaced Attraction
Some orchids emit the chemical perfume of female bees. The males, thinking the flower is a female bee, mate with it and inadvertently pollinate it.
Mayflies have mass emergences. That day they all “hatch” as an adult, mate, lay eggs, then die. They don’t even have mouthparts to eat!
4) Butt Out
Lots of scarab beetles have prominent horns on their head. The males shove each other around in a claim for territory and females. Sometimes less dominant males sneak past the warring dominant males and mate with the females.
5) Size Matters
Female beetles will also use horns to judge fitness.
6) Blind Dates
Tiger Beetles (Carabidae: Cicindelinae) run so quickly that they actually can’t see where they’re going! They have to use their antennae and often stop to reassess the situation.
7) Gentle Breeze
This species of Tiger Beetle larva uses wind to push it along the beach. When threatened, it’ll jump out of its burrow and careen down the beach.
8) Let Me Sing For You
While most people think of crickets, grasshoppers and katydids also sing but in a raspier tone.
9) Sweet Perfume
Moths follow plumes of pheromones released by the females for miles until they finally find her and mate. This may or may not have been inspired by a certain Maroon 5 song.
10) Free Dinner
Mantises don’t eat their mates very often. However, if female Peacock Jumping Spiders are unimpressed by the male’s dance moves, she will try and eat him.
Hope you guys liked my bought of random insect (and token arachnid) love this Valentine’s Day!
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