• reproductive tactics;
  • hyperallometry;
  • secondary sexual traits;
  • sexual selection;
  • display hypothesis

Several arguments have been put forward to explain how sexual selection drives the evolution of sexual trait allometry, especially hyperallometry. The ‘positive allometry theory’ suggests that hyperallometry is a rule in all-secondary sexual traits, whereas the ‘display hypothesis’ suggests that only males in good condition will exhibit hyperallometric sexual display traits. In the present study, we investigated: (1) the condition-dependence nature (by using two diet treatments that varied in the amount of food provided to the larvae) of a sexually selected trait (wing pigmentation; WP) in recently-emerged adults of the American rubyspot damselfly, Hetaerina americana, and (2) the scaling relationship between WP and body size (wing and body length) in the rubyspot damselflies H. americana and Hetaerina vulnerata, according to alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs; territorial and nonterritorial males). First, we found support that indicated that diet positively affected WP length, although there was no significant WP allometric pattern in relation to diet regimes. Second, WP was hyperallometric in both Hetaerina species. WP size was similar between ARTs and, in H. americana (but not H. vulnerata), nonterritorial males showed steeper slopes than territorial males when wing length was used. The results obtained support the notion that sexual traits are hyperallometric, although there is no clear pattern in relation to ARTs. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London