TitleOntogenic colour change, survival, and mating in the damselfly Agriocnemis pygmaea Rambur (Insecta: Odonata)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsJoshi S, Agashe D
Date Published04/2020

1. Damselflies often show intra-specific colour variation, which may represent genetic polymorphism or age-related (ontogenic) colour changes.

2. Such variation has distinct implications for the species' ecology and evolution. Colour variation in females of the damselfly Agriocnemis pygmaea was studied, which range from blue male-like individuals (andromorphs) to those with a distinct red colour (heteromorphs). From preliminary observations, it was hypothesised that this species exhibits ontogenic colour change from heteromorph to andromorph coloration.

3. Mark-recapture experiments and egg counts of dissected females suggested that immature females are heteromorphic and gradually begin to resemble males as they attain sexual maturity.

4. Reflectance spectra of field-caught individuals indicated that, although males are indistinguishable from andromorphs, they could be easily differentiated from heteromorphs.

5. Finally, field observations and mate choice experiments showed that males rarely attempt to mate with heteromorphic females and prefer andromorphs. Together, this study's results suggest that the observed colour variation in A. pygmaea females is ontogenic and is associated with sexual maturity.