Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 439–446

Choice and utilization of oviposition sites by female Calopteryx maculata (Odonata: Calopterygidae)

I. Influence of site size and the presence of other females
  • Jonathan K. Waage

DOI: 10.1007/BF00302987

Cite this article as:
Waage, J.K. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1987) 20: 439. doi:10.1007/BF00302987


Females of the damselfly Calopteryx maculata (de Beauvois) initially choose the larger of a pair of adjacent oviposition sites, about 70% of the time (Table 1), or whichever of two equal sized sites had other ovipositing females on it (about 88% of the time-Table 2). These criteria for initial choice between a pair of sites also interact. Incoming females generally (57 to 74% of the time-Table 3) joined others on the small site rather than ovipositing alone at the adjacent, bigger site. When pairs of large and small sites were replicated across eight locations, there were nonsignificant trends towards greater utilization (eggs laid) of the larger of a pair of oviposition sites within locations (Table 4). The lack of agreement between initial choice and utilization shows that other factors besides size are important in the choice and use of oviposition sites. These include disturbance by males, the presence of other females and choice criteria that can only be assessed during oviposition. When all sites at the eight locations were equal in size, there was considerable day to day and location to location variation in eggs laid (Fig. 1). Viewed over periods of several days, some sites are obviously less attractive than others in terms of cumulative numbers of eggs laid at them. When the amount of vegetation was varied among locations, those with the bigger oviposition sites were used more often, somtimes significantly so, but there were also significant reversals (small sites used more often) (Table 5, Fig. 1). Thus, there is no simple effect of size on the utilization of oviposition sites by Calopteryx maculata females, despite a clear tendency for females to make initial choices based on this criterion. The considerable among and within location variation in number of eggs laid may reflect additional choice criteria or the interaction of size, the presence of other females, disturbance, and location.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan K. Waage
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA