Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sex In The Pool

The diminishing pool in the diminishing pond is still busy with last minute reproduction as a Florida winter approaches.
That's the subject of this post ... we don't even own a pool.

A month ago, after some decent rain, we experienced a brief flush of mosquitoes who had a carefree childhood in the fishless puddle that we call the "pond".
Back then, I waded through the clouds of skeeters long enough to add about a dozen gambusia "Mosquitofish" minnows to the pond to combat any further mosquito infestation.

Today, the pond is loaded with young minnows and we no longer have a mosquito problem. Those mosquitofish are much like guppies. They are constantly reproducing and the approach of winter doesn't really affect how often they kinoodle down in the shallows.
These are fish that actually mate ... none of that impersonal spawning stuff for them.

Tiger salamanders should have spawned down there too in the past month or so, but I haven't seen their distinctive larvae this fall ... probably because my pond visits have been few and far between lately.

The really randy reproducers roaming 'round the pond these days are the dragonflies. Yesterday it was aerial combat and and sex down there as male dragonflies competed for females.

If you stood still, aerial dogfights would take place right in front of your nose as unattached males tried to break the grip of luckier males who had some female in a headlock.

It was all very exhausting. Sometimes the egg laying tail dips of the female took place in flight, but often the shallow weedy pond allowed a complete and restful stop.

The deepest place in the pond puddle now is about 6 inches. Apparently dragonflies can lay their eggs in moist mud sans standing water as that was happening alot along the mucky shoreline.

If you were careful, you could ensure another generation of dragonflies without even getting your six feet wet like these two.

Other times, trios of dragonflies would splash completely into the water during their competitive tussles.
Had there been fish of size in this pond, they would have gorged on sex-crazed insect-o-copters. These dragonflies were not focused on predator avoidance this day.

The colors were pretty spectacular. There was one other species buzzing around, but in fewer numbers. They were kind of a burnt orange color and just a little smaller than these blue ones.

Here's a little closeup of the embrace a female dragonfly has to endure.

Nothing quite so tender as having your partner grab you behind the eyes with his butt.


threecollie said...

Sure makes me glad I am not a dragonfly!

robin andrea said...

What fantastic photos, fc. It's great to see these dragonflies engaging in such stunning amorous aerial displays. Winged kinoodling has a charm all its own.

Cathy S. said...


Sharon said...

LOL!! Now THAT'S a level of tenderness that I have never experienced...and can't say I ever hope to! :) I was wondering how far away we were from you yesterday. I kept my eye out for wayward Crackers in cowboy hats. I guess Sara was off yesterday ;)

Hammy said...

Yuk. It's ugly enough when people do it.

Thunder Dave said...

Too funny, but a bit racy don't ya think? ;-) Nice photos too!

Floridacracker said...

Yes, sometimes it's really good to be us.

Thanks, I was quite the voyeur yesterday.

Cathy S,

Ironically, I was probably heading to Gainesville to buy a Christmas Tree.
Hope you enjoyed Cedar Key.

People do THIS?
I had no idea.
Welcome to Pure Florida!

Racy like P-51's mating.

Cathy said...

Lordy. Great pictures - edifying commentary :0)

ArtfulSub said...

I thought this was a family-friendly blog!!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks. I guess all's fair ...

I will speak to the dragonflies about their behavior.

Doug Taron said...

Great photos. You can sometimes find female dragonflies with visible damage on their heads from the male's grasp. The dragonflies in your photos are Green Darners Anax junius. You might enjoy the book Dragonflies fo the Florida Peninsula, Bermuda, and the Bahamas by Sid Dunkle. Out of print, but available (though pricey) on Amazon.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for the ID's.