acta ethologica

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 101–105 | Cite as

Territoriality and male-biased sexual size dimorphism in Argia reclusa (Odonata: Zygoptera)

  • Rhainer Guillermo-Ferreira
  • Kleber Del-Claro


In Odonata, many species present sexual size dimorphism (SSD), which can be associated with male territoriality in Zygoptera. We hypothesized that in the territorial damselfly Argia reclusa, male–male competition can favor large males, and consequently, drive selection pressures to generate male-biased SSD. The study was performed at a small stream in southeastern Brazil. Males were marked, and we measured body size and assessed the quality of territories. We tested if larger territorial males (a) defended the best territories (those with more male intrusions and visiting females), (b) won more fights, and (c) mated more. Couples were collected and measured to show the occurrence of sexual size dimorphism. Results indicated that males are larger than females, and that territorial males were larger than non-territorial males. Larger territorial males won more fights and defended the best territories. There was no difference between the mating success of large territorial and small non-territorial males. Although our findings suggest that male territoriality may play a significant role on the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in A. reclusa, we suggest that other factors should also be considered to explain the evolution of SSD in damselflies, since non-territorial males are also capable of acquiring mates.


Argia Dimorphism Territoriality Body size Mating success 



We thank Frederico Lencioni for insect identification and Everton Tizo-Pedroso, Pitágoras Bispo, and two anonymous referees for valuable comments. We also thank the Universidade de São Paulo–FFCLRP for logistic support. K. Del-Claro and R. Guillermo-Ferreira thank CNPq for financial support (grant/PQ) and for a doctoral fellowship, respectively.


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© Springer-Verlag and ISPA 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão PretoUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de Biologia-Campus Umuarama, L.E.C.I., Universidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil

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