Physiological condition and wing pigmentation expression in a damselfly with seasonal polyphenism

Clarisa Castaños, Alex Cordoba-Aguilar, Roberto Munguia-Steyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Secondary sexual traits can be indicators of individual condition that may present seasonal polyphenism as a result of the differential costs of expression along the season. Wing spots in male damselflies of the Calopterygidae family are secondary sexual traits associated with intrasexual competition and mate choice. Hetaerina titia Drury is a calopterygid damselfly where males show red and black wing spots, contrasting with other species of the genus whose males only express a red wing spot. In the present study, we evaluate the seasonal variation of the expression of male's red and black wing spots and their allometric patterns. Additionally, we measure male condition in the form of proteins, lipids, soluble carbohydrates and glycogen in early and late seasons. Black wing spots present higher variation than red wing spots and males of the late season are more pigmented. Allometry is positive for wing red spot in the early season and for black spot in the late season. Males of the late season present a higher concentration of proteins, soluble carbohydrates and glycogen, although there is no variation in the lipid content. The results of the present study suggest that, in H. titia males, black pigmentation replaces the function of the red pigmentation to signal condition. Both traits, however, may be heavily affected by environmental situations (e.g. food availability). © 2017 The Royal Entomological Society
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-354
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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