Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 31–47 | Cite as

Influences on variation in territorial tenures of male white-faced dragonflies (Leucorrhinia intacta) (Odonata: Libellulidae)

  • Larry L. Wolf
  • Edward C. Waltz
  • Deborah Klockowski
  • Katie Wakeley


Some individuals in species with extended periods of territorial occupancy may change territory locations within a single bout of territorial activity. Length of occupancy of mating territories among males in a local population of white-faced dragonflies (Leucorrhinia intacta) varied from more than 6 h to 15 min or less. Males with short tenures often established territories in several locations on the pond during a day. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain shifting territorial sites rather than remaining in a single site during one bout of territoriality. We attempted to test the hypothesis that males shift to leave low-quality sites. Site quality may be affected by costs of defense in relation to intruder rate and the mating benefits of holding the territory. To test whether variation in these possible effects of benefits and costs of territoriality influenced tenure, we manipulated local quality of oviposition substrate and perch density. The quality of oviposition substrate, but not perch density, influenced both potential benefits and costs of territoriality. Female density was higher in areas with good substrate, but so were rates of males intruding into the territories, rates of chasing by territorial males, and local density of territorial males. More matings occurred in areas with good substrate, but among males with tenures of 15 min or more, mating success per male and tenure lengths did not differ statistically among treatments. Defense costs were low for all treatments and perhaps were not an important influence on tenure duration. Territorial males in this population probably adjusted local density to expected mating success by initial choice of site rather than by varying tenure length. Variation in tenure length at a site resulted, in part, from stochastic external factors, such as predation attempts.

Key words

Leucorrhinia intacta dragonflies territoriality territorial tenures costs of defense benefits of defense mating success Odonata Libellulidae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry L. Wolf
    • 1
  • Edward C. Waltz
    • 1
  • Deborah Klockowski
    • 1
  • Katie Wakeley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologySyracuse UniversitySyracuse

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