The development of sexual differences in body size in Odonata in relation to mating systems

M A Serrano-Meneses, M Azpilicueta-Amorin, T Szekely, A Cordoba-Aguilar

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11 Citations (SciVal)


Adult body size is the result of important environmental, maternal and/or genetic effects acting on animals during development. Here we investigate how sexual size dimorphism (SSD) develops in seven species of Odonata: Anax imperalor, Cordillegaster boltonii, Onychogomphus uncatus, Oxygastra curtisii (Anisoptera), Cercion lindeni, Ischnura graellsii and Platycnemis acutipennis (Zygoptera). SSD of both the last larval and adult stages of the same individuals, which were reared under laboratory conditions, was measured. The aims were to investigate (i) whether SSD develops during the larval stage, (ii) the direction of larval and adult SSD, and (iii) whether the direction of adult SSD can be predicted by the mating system of a given species (e.g. males of territorial species being larger than females and the opposite for non-territorial species). We found that although larval differences in size may be present between the sexes, these are not necessarily shown in the adult stage (they may change or disappear). Also, the mating system was not related to patterns of adult SSD. Differences in SSD in larvae may be caused by differential use of resources via differential niche-utilisation or sex-specific growth patterns. We highlight the fact that sexual selection favouring large male size and fecundity selection, which selects for large females may be acting on the observed patterns in SSD in adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-458
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Entomology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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