There are more studies of mating or reproductive success of dragonflies than of any other insects; their size and ability to be marked and watched renders them particularly suitable for such studies. – Laboratory studies on feeding and development rates of larvae indicate that well-fed larvae moult into larger animals and do so sooner than poorly fed individuals. – This trend is reflected in a decline in size at emergence through the season and in those adults arriving at a particular rendezvous to breed. – For many early emerging species the best weather for reproductive activity is at the end of their flying period, a time likely to be encountered by smaller adults. Weather is known to have a major influence on lifetime reproductive success of dragonflies. – It seems that the “best” larvae, those that emerge first, suffer reduced reproductive activity because later emergers experience better weather and consequently obtain more matings. – The present paper explores this apparent paradox and attempts to resolve it.