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Keywords:

  • damselflies;
  • egg parasitoid;
  • endophytic oviposition;
  • parasitism rate

Abstract

Very little is known about the incidence of egg parasitoids in odonates, perhaps because Odonata eggs are well protected by stems or leaves, sometimes below water. In Central Italy (Pontecorvo, Frosinone Province) two damselflies, Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis and Platycnemis pennipes, occur in high densities. In August 2007 we collected 30 stems of the aquatic plant Potamogeton sp. used as substrate for oviposition and incubated eggs in the laboratory. Most stems (24 for C. haemorrhoidalis and 23 for P. pennipes) contained Odonata eggs. Parasitoids emerged from 12 stems, with a mean parasitism of 2% for C. haemorrhoidalis and 6% for P. pennipes, and a maximum of 14% and 50%, respectively. Furthermore, we observed egg-laying of 19 females of C. haemorrhoidalis and 11 of P. pennipes, and marked the stems where oviposition was observed. Clutches remained in the river for five days and were then collected and incubated. Parasitoids emerged from 11 of 30 stems, with an average parasitism of 8% for C. haemorrhoidalis and 3% for P. pennipes (maximums of 50% and 29%, respectively). All parasitoids belonged to the family Mymaridae, and were identified as Anagrus (Anagrus) obscurus Förster, 1861, sensuSoyka, 1955. This is the first time that this species is described as an egg parasitoid of odonates, and that the egg parasitoid of C. haemorrhoidalis and P. pennipes is identified. Our data suggest that egg parasitism might be a significant selective factor for both odonates in the studied locality, affecting female oviposition behavior.