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Reproductive Costs Arising From Incomplete Habitat Segregation Among Three Species of Leucorrhinia Dragonflies

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Three species of Leucorrhinia dragonflies show extensive temporal and spatial overlap in their use of mating grounds. This sets the stage for potentially costly interspecific interactions during mating and subsequent oviposition. Males frequently attempt to mate with heterospecific females, but prolonged interspecific matings are uncommon. Males guard ovipositing mates against takeovers by intruding males. Guarding males were as likely to chase heterospecific intruders as conspecific intruders during the oviposition period. Males incurred considerable reproductive cost from this lack of species discrimination; 29% of the successful takeovers by conspecifics occurred while males were chasing heterospecific intruders. One hypothesis for lack of species discrimination in this group is that effective discrimination would require a time investment by the guarding male while he assessed the species identity of the intruder. During this assessment period, the guarding male would risk losing his female to the intruder.

Affiliations: 1: Bell Museum of Natural History, Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, U.S.A


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