Are copulating damselflies the source of the stylized heart shape (❤) that we’re all familiar with and drew on Valentine’s Day cards in grade school? Let’s see what we can do with this image of copulating Skimming Bluets (Enallagma geminatum) and you be the judge...
Copulating damselflies don’t always form such a nice heart shape—it’s often skewed like on the cover of that issue of Argia, but there is usually at least a suggestion of it. Copulating dragonflies never form a heart—not that I’ve seen anyway, and that probably has to do with the difference in where the male holds onto the female (the back of the head on dragonflies, near the front of the thorax on damselflies), and differences in body proportions may have something to do with it too.
I don’t known if copulating damselflies are truly the source of the heart shape or not and I’m sure that no one knows for certain anymore, but it’s fun to think about. And of course, Valentine’s Day is a natural time to think about it. (Wikipedia has a few suggestions about the origin of the heart shape, none of which involve damselflies.)
I have a suggestion. From now on whenever you see a “I ❤ something” sticker, mentally replace the heart with “copulating damselflies”. I copulating damselflies NY or I copulating damselflies my rat terrier is so much more entertaining!