Broad bodied chasers
Several broad bodied chaser males (Libellula depressa) have established territories over the big pond.
Each territory is a patch of pond margin into which the male hopes to entice a female. He guards his territory from a perch on its edge and defends it against raiders in a series of rapid and aggressive aerial dogfights.
The territory, rather than the male or his fighting skills, is what attracts the female. She is looking for prime egg-laying real estate and will mate with whoever is its resident male,
1 Female broad bodied chaser 2 Two females laying their eggs
3 The male stands guard while the female lays his eggs.
The mating is brief, achieved in flight in just a couple of seconds, and the female immediately begins to lay her eggs in the male’s territory. She flicks her tail into the water with each egg, choosing shallow open water with some vegetation on the pond bed.
The male guards her carefully while she is laying; if she were to be mated by another male before she had finished laying the territory-holder’s eggs, his sperm would be lost, displaced by that of the raider.
If you are walking past the pond today, pause by the rails and look for the broad bodied chasers busy fighting terrible battles over the water.