Effects of male harassment on females’ oviposition behaviour in Libellulidae (Odonata)


I investigated whether the level of male harassment affects females’ oviposition behaviour, such that females oviposit unguarded under suboptimal conditions and/or vary oviposition duration, dip number, dip frequency or number of oviposition site changes. The study species were the libellulids Crocothemis erythraea, Ortbetrum chrysostigma, Pantala flavescens, Sympetrum fonscolombii, Trithemis annulata and T. kirbyi ardens. Only a few ovipositions under suboptimal conditions were observed and females hovered lower under high male harassment. However, in only a few species studied oviposition behaviour differed with the level of harassment. No evidence for a special female strategy to avoid the negative effects of males’ harassment was found. Due to the great intraspecific variability females seemed to be able to react flexibly to current conditions, such as changing male density and the level of male harassment.

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