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Costs and benefits associated with oviposition site selection in the dragonfly sympetrum danae odonata libellulidae

Costs and benefits associated with oviposition site selection in the dragonfly sympetrum danae odonata libellulidae

Animal Behaviour 40(4): 668-678

Predation by frogs, site selection and site usage during oviposition by a small dragonfly were studied. Data were collected under natural conditions and in a large outdoor field-cage. Sympetrum danae oviposits in flight as a pair (tandem) following copulation, as a released post-tandem female or as an unattended female. Under natural conditions 14% of all females that started oviposition in tandem and 10% of all solitary females were killed by frogs, while this was so for only 3% of all males in tandem. Ovipositing post-tandem females were less frequently attacked by frogs than females that were not seen to have mated previously. Sites with Sphagnum were preferred. Substrate selection was probably mainly visual as some dragonflies were also attracted to a structurally similar, but non-aquatic, moss. Sites were chosen in relation to thermoregulatory requirements: south-facing sites were used at low ambient temperatures late in the season and north-facing sites at high ambient temperatures early in the season. Pairs searched longer for a suitable site at higher ambient temperatures and preferred sites with ovipositing individuals on them. They were more hesitant about choosing a site when frogs were present than when they were absent. Compared with pairs or solitary/unmated females, unattended females were more likely to oviposit at the site where the male released them. The results are discussed in terms of optimized habitat selection for larval development at minimized oviposition costs.

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Accession: 007165635

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1016/s0003-3472(05)80696-7

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