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Sexual and natural selection wing pigmentation and wing morphology in calopterygid demoiselles

This is a collaborative project between the Phenotypic Evolution Lab and the Animal Flight Lab.

Damselflies of the genus Calopteryx are highly aerial creatures that depend on their flight capabilities for hunting, territory defense, courtship displays, mating success and predator avoidance. All these requirements put selective pressure on wing morphology, although potentially in opposing directions. While we have a good conceptual understanding of the consequences of wing shape on flight performance, few studies have shown a direct link between wing morphology, flight performance and individual fitness and survival in the field.

Our study system comprises of two sympatric damselfly species: Calopteryx splendens, and C. virgofor which previous studies suggest differential selection pressure on wing morphology by avian predators. We use geometric morphometric methods to analyze variations in wing morphology, both between and within the species, and combine these data with flight performance parameters (speed, acceleration, and force production) from a drop-escape test and field measurements of predation and survival to quantify selection pressure on wing morphology.

Comparative WingPigmentation
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Contact information

Erik Svensson
Professor
Evolutionary ecology

Telephone: +46 46-222 38 19
E-mail: Erik.Svensson [at] biol.lu.se

People involved

White wagtail
Ferocious damselfly predator: A white wagtail Motacilla alba. Photo: Sophia Engel.

Caleopteryx virgo male
Caleopteryx virgo male. Photo: Sophia Engel.