• Damselflies;
  • dragonflies;
  • fitness components;
  • meta-analysis;
  • size effects


The relationship between body size and fitness components in odonates was examined using a meta-analysis of 33 published studies. There was a positive and significant overall effect of body size on mating rate and lifetime mating success among males. There was also a weaker but still significant positive effect of body size on survivorship of males. The relationship between body size, mating rate, longevity, and lifetime mating success differed significantly between males of territorial and nonterritorial species. The effect of body size was significant for all fitness components in territorial species but significant only for longevity and lifetime mating success in nonterritorial species. Effect sizes appeared to be strongest on longevity in both sexes, and on male mating rate in territorial species. Other effect sizes, even when significant, were small. Despite a much smaller data set, female fitness also increased significantly with body size. Both clutch size and longevity showed a significant positive relationship with body size. These results suggest that there is a general fitness benefit to large size in odonates. Nevertheless, significant heterogeneity is apparent in this effect, which can be attributed to sex, mating system, and fitness component. Finally, these analyses point to inadequacies in the current data that need further study before the potentially rich patterns in size effects on fitness can be explored more thoroughly.