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Predator-Mediated Natural Selection on the Wings of the Damselfly Calopteryx splendens: Differences in Selection among Trait Types

  • Shawn R. Kuchta
  • Erik Svensson
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 91-109
Publication/Series: American Naturalist
Volume: 184
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract english

Traits that increase mating success in males may come at a cost, such as an increased risk of predation. However, predator-mediated selection is challenging to document in natural populations, hampering our understanding of the trade-offs between sexual selection and predation. Here we report on a study of predator-mediated natural selection on wing traits in the damselfly Calopteryx splendens, the males of which possess conspicuous wing patches. Wagtails (genus Motacilla) are important avian predators of C. splendens, capturing them in flight and removing the wings prior to consumption. Using geometric morphometric techniques, we quantified the strength and mode of selection on wing traits by comparing wings from depredated individuals with the standing variation present in the population. Our results reveal that predator-mediated selection is stronger on secondary sexual characters than on size and shape, suggesting that traits related to flight performance are closer to their adaptive peaks. This could be a consequence of the long-term evolutionary association with avian predators, whereas stronger selection on conspicuous secondary sexual traits may reflect trade-offs between sexual and natural selection. Finally, even though C. splendens possesses nearly identical fore-and hindwings, we found evidence for divergent selection between them.


  • Biological Sciences
  • fitness landscape
  • geometric morphometrics
  • predation
  • secondary sexual
  • trait
  • selection gradient
  • selective agent


  • BECC
  • ISSN: 0003-0147
E-mail: erik [dot] svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

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