First, a warning: This clip of a BBC nature documentary is possibly not safe for work. If these were humans . . . Oh. My. Even as is, I’m not sure this would, er, fly on American television.
Isn’t it cute that they make a heart shape when they mate? It almost makes up for the fact the male has a penis from hell. Although it’s by no means the most frightening I’ve seen. There are many insects (of which bedbugs are a prime example) that mate by “traumatic insemination“, in which the male stabs the female with his often-horrible, spiky penis and injects sperm directly into the female’s body cavity. [Pause while female readers silently scream in horror.] Brought to you by the James Cameron School of Insect Adaptations Worthy of Sci-Fi Horror Flicks (TM).(Motto: “They mostly come out at night. Mostly.”)
And this is a dragonfly:
Note the chief differences: Most damsels neatly fold their wings behind them when they land. Dragons hold them out like biplanes. Careful observers will also note that dragons’ wing pairs do not match as closely as damsel wings (the dragonflies’ hind wings tend to extend tailward farther) and damselfly eyes are much further separated. Almost googly, one might say.
Here’s a tree to show you how they’re related. Their clades’ (groups’) technical names are Zygoptera (damselflies) and Anisoptera (dragonflies). Notice that the uneven wings are right in dragonflies’ formal name: an-iso-ptera: “not — same — winged”. They’re both in the insect order Odonata; back out via the little arrow on the left to see how they fit into the Insects.