Ovipositor morphology and egg laying behaviour in the dragonfly Lestes macrostigma (Zygoptera: Lestidae)


Lestes macrostigma is a stenotopic dragonfly species of Western Palaearctic distribution that has high conservation status almost throughout its range. It inhabits mainly brackish water with a typical plant species, sea club-rush Bolboschoenus maritimus. Due to the absence of special investigations, the nature of this insect–plant association is not clearly understood, but it was supposed that L. macrostigma prefers egg laying in B. maritimus. In this paper we describe the ovipositor morphology and the egg laying behaviour of L. macrostigma in detail. The cutting ovipositor reveals several morphological peculiarities recorded previously in other lestids. The internal surface of the valves reveals rich microsculpture. Numerous single and clustered sensilla of different shape are found on the valves and styli and are probably involved in oviposition–plant recognition by females and/or in production of an egg clutch. Oviposition is carried out in stems of B. maritimus and Juncus maritimus. An egg clutch consists of a row of single eggs deposited in line along the long axis of a plant. Results are discussed in the light of possible morphological and behavioural adaptation to oviposition into specific plant substrates.

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