Parasite-mediated selection in host populations is thought to vary in magnitude temporally. We monitored variation in life history traits that are known or suspected to influence fitness in a population of damselflies parasitized by larval water mites. Mite prevalence and intensity varied considerably over 5 y and was often higher in females. Prevalence and intensity were highest in the years when the damselfly emergence periods were early and of short duration, which also corresponded to damselflies emerging at larger sizes. Mites appeared to exert negative effects on apparent survival in some years only, and only for females, suggesting that parasite-mediated selection on damselflies is variable and dependent on other factors such as emergence times, weather, and sex and body size of hosts.
Nomenclature: Selys, 1862; Marshall, 1910.