Sex in the Undergrowth!

Unlike most birds and mammals, whose courtship and mating often takes place out of sight, insects and other invertebrates can be very conspicuous in their reproductive behaviour. With most of them having very short lives (just a few weeks in some cases), mating is a high priority, and the various groups of insects utilise different positions for copulation.


Click on an image below to view the gallery.

Black slugs (Arion ater) mating on the forest floor on Dundreggan. All slugs are hermaphroditic, and both partners produce sperm (the white mass in the middle here). After the sperm is exchanged, each partner goes on to lay fertilised eggs.
Green tiger beetles (Cicindela campestris) mating on Dundreggan. Most beetles mate facing in the same direction, with the male mounted on top of the female.
Craneflies (Tipula paludosa) mating on the flowers of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) on Dundreggan. Craneflies mate with the two partners facing in opposite directions. The female at the top has a larger abdomen, because of the eggs she is carrying, and her ovipositor is also visible.
Bee beetles (Trichius fasciatus) mating on the flower head of a creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) on Dundreggan.
Black darter dragonflies (Sympetrum danae) mating on a log beside Coire Loch in Glen Affric. Dragonflies are noted for flying in tandem while they mate, and here the black male has grasped the brighter female behind the head with forceps-like structures on his abdomen.

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