Dragonfly "Humor"

Page updated: 08December 1998 (EB)

One cannot always be serious...especiallyentomologists. (Well, maybe one or two, but avoid them at the nextESA meeting). And after many hours of viewing through dissectingmicroscopes, watching dragonflies mate, or standing many hours infreezing water sampling for aquatic macroinvertebrates, you mightthink of some rather strange things. So, we'd like to share with theworld some of the more bizarre stories and mental images congured upby people who work in rooms with ETOH.


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Do you think Selys-Longchamps had a falling outwith 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 fortranslating and writing the English into Japanese, and John Megahanfor image integration). Photo by E. Bright, c 1998.

Q: What do you get when you cross a dragonflylarva 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 Leagueodonatologists to get off their butts and find nymphs ofWilliamsonia: "In the early 1930's Dr. James G. Needham of CornellUniversity offered five dollars and a copy of his book (Needham andHeywood 1929) to anyone at Harvard University who could produce anymph of Williamsonia. Apparently the prospect of wading in cold bogs in theearly spring searching for an unknown nymph was not worth the rewardeven during the Depression, for the search was never made." (Hmm,maybe the people who could AFFORD to go to Harvard weren't exactlysuffering during the depression?)

Did the anal appendage of a maleAeshna clepsydra presage the roach clip? (Scanned from Walker and Corbet1975).

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


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

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

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. The Odonata ofCanada 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). Psyche77(2):252-257.

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