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The lek mating system of Hetaerina damselflies (Insecta: Calopterygidae)

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We investigated whether territorial males of Hetaerina damselflies show lekking behaviour using experimental techniques and observations: (i) we altered potential vegetation substrates to determine whether this affected the number of female visitations and matings; (ii) by removing territorial males and allowing other males to occupy the territory, we determined whether females changed their visitation and mating number; (iii) we observed whether vegetation substrates were present and used, and whether lighting conditions affected male territorial behaviour; (iv) we documented female pre- and post-copulatory behaviour to examine whether female choice occurred; and (v) we investigated whether male traits were linked to mating success. Our results revealed that (1) vegetation substrates were rarely found in territories and even when vegetation was present, it did not affect female visitation and mating number; (2) males constantly moved to more illuminated places and females had little opportunity to exert choice due to harassment from males; (3) females oviposited outside territories; and (4) males with larger wing pigmentation and body size obtained a larger mating number because they were more likely to acquire a territory and/or displace other males while in tandem. This is the first documented evidence that odonate males display a lek mating system.

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Apdo. Postal 70-275, Mexico, D.F. 04510, Mexico; 2: Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Escolar s/n, Apdo. Postal 70-228, Mexico, D.F. 04510, Mexico; 3: Unidad de Entomología Aplicada, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Km. 2.5 Ant. Carr. a Coatepec no. 351, Congregación El Haya, 91070 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


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