Reproductive behaviour of Odonata: the history of a mystery


The main, externally visible components of odonate reproductive behaviour were known from published accounts for about 300 years before sperm displacement during copulation was first described. The latter discovery, revealed by Jonathan Waage in 1979, revolutionised the interpretation of odonate reproductive behaviour, allowing it for the first time to be interpreted convincingly in the context of sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems. This insight has been a prerequisite for elegant, ongoing work on mechanisms of sperm displacement and sperm precedence in Odonata.

Issue section: Article