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A role for ecology in male mate discrimination of immigrant females in Calopteryx damselflies?

  • Maren Wellenreuther
  • Elodie Vercken
  • Erik Svensson
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 506-518
Publication/Series: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume: 100
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Linnean Society of London

Abstract english

Sexual selection against immigrants is a mechanism that can regulate premating isolation between populations but, so far, few field studies have examined whether males can discriminate between immigrant and resident females. Males of the damselfly Calopteryx splendens show mate preferences and are able to force pre-copulatory tandems. We related male mate responses to the ecological characteristics of female origin, geographic distances between populations, and morphological traits of females to identify factors influencing male mate discrimination. Significant heterogeneity between populations in male mate responses towards females was found. In some populations, males discriminated strongly against immigrant females, whereas the pattern was reversed or nonsignificant in other populations. Immigrant females were particularly attractive to males when they came from populations with similar predation pressures and densities of conspecifics. By contrast, immigrant females from populations with strongly dissimilar predation pressures and conspecific densities were not attractive to males. Differences in the abiotic environment appeared to affect mating success to a lesser degree. This suggests that male mate discrimination is context-dependent and influenced by ecological differences between populations, a key prediction of ecological speciation theory. The results obtained in the present study suggest that gene-flow is facilitated between ecologically similar populations. (C) 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 506-518.


  • Biological Sciences
  • adaptation
  • local
  • genetic variation
  • adaptive divergence
  • ecological speciation
  • premating isolation
  • male mate choice


  • ISSN: 0024-4066
E-mail: erik [dot] svensson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

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