Jessica Bots, Casper J. Breuker, Kari M. Kaunisto, Jani Koskimäki, Hans Van Gossum, Jukka Suhonen
Journal of Insect Science 12 (96), 1-13, (1 August 2012) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.012.9601
KEYWORDS: aspect ratio, geometric morphometrics, male-male competition, resource holding potential, wing design
Male mating success is often determined by territory ownership and traits associated with successful territory defense. Empirical studies have shown that the territory owner wins the majority of fights with challenging males. Several physical and physiological traits have been found to correlate with resource holding potential. In addition, in aerial insects, wing design may also have a strong influence on resource holding potential, since it determines efficiency and precision during flight. However, this possibility has not yet been thoroughly evaluated using the modern technique of geometric morphometrics to analyze shape. Therefore, this study examined whether wing shape affects the outcome of male-male contests in the territorial damselfly, Calopteryx virgo (L.) (Odonata: Calopterygidae). Wing shape and also traditional flight-related morphological measures were compared between 27 pairs of winners and losers from experimental territorial contests. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences between winners and losers in all studied wing traits (shape, length, width, total surface, aspect ratio, and wing loading). However, highly significant differences in wing shape and size were detected between the fore- and hindwing. It is currently not known how these differences relate to flight performance, since previous biomechanical studies in damselflies assumed fore- and hindwings to have an identical planform.