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Keywords:

  • Development time;
  • egg circumference;
  • egg clutch;
  • gender;
  • guarding type;
  • larval size;
  • maternal effects

Abstract.  1. In libellulids, egg size differs between species and populations. There are also size differences within egg clutches of individual females.

2. Past experiments suggest that there are two different types of egg clutches in libellulids. Egg size decreases significantly during oviposition in species that perform non-contact guarding during oviposition. In contrast, in species ovipositing in tandem, egg size is randomly distributed.

3. This study deals with the possible consequences of egg size variation within the different egg clutch types. The study examined whether there is a correlation between egg development time, offspring sex or larval size and egg size.

4. The current experiments were conducted in Namibia and Germany. Five non-contact guarding and four tandem guarding libellulid species were used.

5. In some species larger eggs needed more time to develop, in some species no correlation between egg size and egg development time could be found, whereas in other species larger eggs developed faster.

6. The sex ratio was biased towards females in Leucorrhinia dubia and in Sympetrum striolatum and egg size was not associated with gender.

7. In both egg clutch types larger eggs resulted in larger larvae. In this study, evidence was found that the effects of egg size diminished with progressing larval development under good conditions. However, it is possible that the effects may have a greater influence under harsh circumstances.