Male mate choice based on ontogenetic colour changes of females in the damselfly Ischnura senegalensis

Yuma Takahashi, Mamoru Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While male mate choice behaviour has been reported in many taxa, little is known about its plasticity and evolutionary consequences. In the damselfly Ischnura senegalensis, females exhibit colour dimorphism (gynomorph and andromorph). The body colour of gynomorphs changed ontogenetically in accordance with sexual maturation, while little change occurred in andromorphs. To test the male mate choice between sexually immature and mature females of both morphs, binary choice experiments were conducted. Virgin males that were reared separately from females after emergence did not show significant preference between sexually immature and mature females for both morphs, indicating that virgin males were unable to discriminate female reproductive status. On the other hand, males that had experienced copulation with gynomorphs preferred sexually mature gynomorphs to sexually immature ones. However, males that had experienced copulation with andromorphs could not discriminate between sexually immature and mature andromorphs, probably due to the absence of significant ontogenetic change in their thoracic colour. Therefore, female body colour is an important cue for males in discriminating between sexual maturation stages. Learned mate discrimination depending on copulation experience might help males to detect potential mates effectively and avoid sexually unreceptive immature female. We finally discuss the adaptive significance of the ontogenetic colour change in females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ethology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May 1

Keywords

  • Female polymorphism
  • Innate mating preference
  • Learned mating preference
  • Male harassment
  • Ontogenetic colour change
  • Sexual maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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