The dry season governs the reproduction of three pseudostigmatid zygopterans in Costa Rica (Odonata: Pseudostigmatidae)


The large Neotropical zygopterans Megaloprepus caerulatus, Mecistogaster linearis and M. ornata (Pesudostigmatidae) were surveyed during five years, and striking differences in their reproduction patterns were shown: (1) At two study sites in seasonal, tropical semi-dry forests in Pacific Costa Rica, adult M. ornata could be observed throughout the year, occasionally during the dry season up to 24 individuals at one time. Larvae were found from the middle to the end of the wet season suggesting a generation time of one year. (2) At two other study sites in aseasonal tropical wet forest in Caribbean Costa Rica, adults of M. caerulatus were observed year round, often in rather low numbers. Larvae of this species as well as M. linearis appeared throughout the year. While dry periods and rainfall certainly are key factors in governing the reproductive patterns of these species in relation to the climatic regimes of their preferred life zones, it is also concluded that competition from other container dwellers, including tadpoles of poison arrow frogs, may be additional factors in explaining their seasonal variation. It is also argued that all three species seem to have a high plasticity in their life cycles and hence are able to adapt to local conditions rather than displaying the same behaviour throughout their range.

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