Alternative oviposition behaviours in three New Zealand corduliid dragonflies: their adaptive significance and implications for male mating tactics

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Abstract

Oviposition behaviours of female, and mate acquisition and defence behaviours of male, ‘Procordulia’ grayi, Procordulia smithii and Hemicordulia australiae (three phylogenetically close corduliid species) are contrasted. Twelve distinct methods of oviposition occur involving different motor patterns. These different oviposition behaviours place ova into different microhabitats. Each species has a distinct repertoire of oviposition methods, with only one of the 12 methods occurring in more than one species. The oviposition behaviours differ in their susceptibility to male interference. The implications for male sperm displacement tactics and for the development of conditional male strategies are discussed. Male mating behaviour varies with the geometry of the breeding site, in a manner consistent with an ideal free distribution model where females vary in their ‘value’ through differential susceptibility to takeover by other males. It is shown that differential susceptibility of females to takeover would stabilize the observed mixed mating strategy among male ‘P.’ grayi and P. smithii.

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