• binary choice experiment;
  • copulation experience;
  • female polymorphism;
  • frequency-dependent selection;
  • male harassment;
  • mate choice;
  • sexual conflict


Ischnura senegalensis females exhibit color dimorphism, consisting of an andromorph and a gynomorph, which might be maintained under a frequency-dependent process of mating harassment by mate-searching males. Males change their mating preference for female morph depending on prior copulation experience. Binary choice experiments between two female morphs were carried out in four local populations in the early morning (07.00–09.00 hours) and the afternoon (12.00–14.00 hours), times which mark the onset and the end of diurnal mating activity, respectively. According to the line census along the water's edge, the proportion of andromorphs in the female population varied from 21 to 67% throughout the survey period for four local populations. Males showed non-biased preference for female morphs in the early morning in each local population, while they chose the common morph in the afternoon. Male mating preference for female morphs was positively correlated to the proportion of female morphs in the population. If the selective mating attacks on the common female morphs inhibit their foraging and/or oviposition behavior, frequency-dependent male mating attacks might provide a selective force for maintaining the female color dimorphism in I. senegalensis.