Color change from male-mimic to gynomorphic: a new aspect of signaling sexual status in damselflies (Odonata, Zygoptera)

Huang, Shao-chang and Reinhard, Judith (2012) Color change from male-mimic to gynomorphic: a new aspect of signaling sexual status in damselflies (Odonata, Zygoptera). Behavioral Ecology, 23 6: 1269-1275. doi:10.1093/beheco/ars112


Author Huang, Shao-chang
Reinhard, Judith
Title Color change from male-mimic to gynomorphic: a new aspect of signaling sexual status in damselflies (Odonata, Zygoptera)
Journal name Behavioral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1045-2249
1465-7279
Publication date 2012-09-21
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/beheco/ars112
Volume 23
Issue 6
Start page 1269
End page 1275
Total pages 17
Place of publication Cary, NC, United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Body color variations are used by many animal species to communicate their sexual state and are believed to have evolved through sexual selection. In damselfly species (Odonata, Zygoptera), females sometimes come in different color morphs: gynomorphs and male-like andromorphs, pursuing different reproductive strategies. These distinct female color morphs are usually mature females and their color remains stable throughout the female's life. Here, we show for the first time that blue andromorph females of the Australian damselfly Ischnura heterosticta, are still sexually immature, and change their body color to green-grey gynomorph when they are ready to mate. The color change occurs within 24h and is irreversible. Males of I. heterosticta rarely recognize blue andromorphs as potential mates, but mistake them for other males. The andromorphs thus avoid male sexual harassment, giving them the advantage of additional time to forage and sexually mature. The color change to gynomorph signals the readiness to mate, and the former andromorphs have equal mating success after the color change as other gynomorph females. Our results demonstrate that andromorph I. heterosticta use a complete and unique body color change from male-mimic to gynomorphic to signal sexual maturity and regulate reproduction. Our discovery gives rise to a novel hypothesis regarding maintenance of female-limited polymorphism in Ischnura damselflies via this color change mechanism.
Keyword Andromorph
Color change
Ischnura heterosticta
Mate choice
Polymorphism
Sexual selection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2013 Collection
 
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Created: Thu, 22 Nov 2012, 11:22:34 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute