Monday, 30 March 2015

How male damselflies aim to win their fights

The transparency of a damselfly's wings can be an indicator of strength

Male damselflies, like many other winged insects, engage in energy-consuming aerial stand-offs to secure the best mates and territory. 

But these potentially damaging fights are not just randomly entered into, researchers have discovered.

Before they embark on aerial sparring, a male damselfly will first works out its strategy.

It gives its opponent’s wings a once-over to assess its strength, knowing that more transparent wings and larger red spots generally show a stronger rival.

Those who then decide to engage in long fights either try to wear their opponent down, or dazzle them with brilliant aerial moves that are too hard to follow.

These damselfly war game strategies are set out in a study published in Springer’s journal The Science of Nature – Naturwissenschaften.

The results come from two research groups united forces - one based in Brazil, led by Rhainer Guillermo-Ferreira, and the other in Germany, led by Stanislav Gorb.

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