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Some Damsels are Gentlemen


Damselfly, Coorg -


A Damsel is not always a lady. For, even the males of this species are called Damselflies, though they don’t seem to mind too much (proof that metrosexuals have been around much longer than our fashionistas would have us believe). The females too are definitely not products of those Swiss finishing schools that insist on ‘ladylike’ manners. All those who’ve grown up with tales of knights errant rushing to rescue damsels in distress, can banish the notion. This is one damsel who can take care of herself, and is known to cause more distress than she gets. Her tough, carnivorous nature comes to the fore much before she attains adulthood. Even as a water nymph (which is how they begin their lives), her predatory instincts are well developed, and she preys on mosquito larvae and unsuspecting aquatic organisms. When she does emerge from her watery home as an adult damselfly, she gorges uninhibitedly on flies, mosquitoes and any insects within reach. But between the two stages is a phenomenon that’ll put even our celluloid stars to shame. If you thought Bollywood song and dance sequences, with their myriad costume changes, are over the top, consider how the Damselfly’s molting pattern ensures a multiple change of raiment before her ‘coming out’ parade. As she poses daintily on her freshwater perch with her wings folded back, showing off her streamlined body and fine features, please ensure you don’t whistle appreciatively and say, “What a pretty dragonfly!”. You’d have just broken a damsel’s heart. Even if the lady in question was a ‘laddie’!


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