Dragonfly "Humor"

Page updated: 08 December 1998 (EB)

One cannot always be serious...especially entomologists. (Well, maybe one or two, but avoid them at the next ESA meeting). And after many hours of viewing through dissecting microscopes, watching dragonflies mate, or standing many hours in freezing water sampling for aquatic macroinvertebrates, you might think of some rather strange things. So, we'd like to share with the world some of the more bizarre stories and mental images congured up by people who work in rooms with ETOH.


Hungry? Go to: http://frog.simplenet.com/froggy/recipes.shtml

Do you think Selys-Longchamps had a falling out with Hagen when he named the dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus, after him? BREVISTYLUS: brevis L. short; stylus L. a style. Hagen's little style - Use your imagination!

"Out of the way, Godzilla! Tokyo, you ain't seen nothing yet!"
Specimen identified as
Didymops sp. by J. G. Needham in 1938, collected from River Sasakawa, Chibaken, Furutore, Japan on 21 June 1929 (UMMZODO-1821). (Thanks to Kimiko Okabe for translating and writing the English into Japanese, and John Megahan for image integration). Photo by E. Bright, c 1998.


Q: What do you get when you cross a dragonfly larva with film director Quenton Tarentino?
A: Palpal fiction. [...oy, I'm goin' to be sick!]

I can't imagine why! White and Raff (1970) write about an apparent unwillingness of lazy, fat Ivy League odonatologists to get off their butts and find nymphs of Williamsonia: "In the early 1930's Dr. James G. Needham of Cornell University offered five dollars and a copy of his book (Needham and Heywood 1929) to anyone at Harvard University who could produce a nymph of Williamsonia. Apparently the prospect of wading in cold bogs in the early spring searching for an unknown nymph was not worth the reward even during the Depression, for the search was never made." (Hmm, maybe the people who could AFFORD to go to Harvard weren't exactly suffering during the depression?)

Did the anal appendage of a male Aeshna clepsydra presage the roach clip? (Scanned from Walker and Corbet 1975).

Researching neotropical damselflies can be very, very dangerous!! Clarence Kennedy's (1936) research on Telebasis flammeola sounds a bit theatrical (p. 806): "The above description is of the holotype male collected on the Rio Yanamanaca, which flows into the Rio Anzu 2-3 days...The next Indian village up the Rio Anzu from the Yanamanaca is El Partidero. This is one of the least known areas of South America and is on the western edge of the jungle occupied by the Auca Indians, who smoke and shrink the heads of their human victims."


Kennedy, C. H. 1936. Telebasis flammeola, T. carota and T. livida, new dragonflies from Ecuador.Annals of the Entomological Society of America 29(4):804-815.

Needham, J. G. and H. B. Heywood. 1929. A Handbook of the Dragonflies of North America (Anisoptera). C. C. Thomas: Springfield, Illinois. 378 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska. Vol. 3. University of Toronto Press: Toronta, Ontario. xvi + 308.

White, H. B. and R. A. Raff. 1970. The nymph ofWilliamsonia lintneri (hagen) (Odonata: Corduliidae). Psyche 77(2):252-257.

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Please email us your humorous (or humorless, but not [sic]) stories and/or pictures (but suitable for a public institition's web-server) to mfobrien@umich.edu or ethanbr@insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu. If the above offends anyone, please read every page of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." If your sanity is still intact and you still find the above offensive, we will pity you but still endeavor to correct the matter in the spirit of making the web a safe, innocuous, conservative and bland place for all.