Study finds female damselflies prefer 'hot' males

May 20, 2010

Researchers from the University of Sheffield have found that female damselflies prefer hot males.

The study, which was published in the journal and Sociobiology, found that hot male damselflies, who have warmed their bodies in the sun, are more attractive to their female counterparts.

Males of this species show elaborate courtship displays that involve high frequency wing-beats directed toward a potential female mate. Previous studies suggest that a female's choice of mate is based on aspects of a male's courtship display, although it is unclear whether the courtship display varies between males or is influenced by .

The research used two new technologies - thermographic imaging and high-speed digital videography - to assess the courtship rituals of the damselflies.

The findings revealed that males that had basked in the sun had warmer bodies and were more attractive to the females: they were therefore more likely to copulate than colder males. The study also discovered that females benefit from mating with warmer males, as they have access to the warmest territories, which provides the perfect location for the females to lay their .

Professor Michael Siva-Jothy, one of the authors of the study from the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: "This research shows that female mating preference can change over a very short period: a male can become attractive when his territory is in the sunshine but become a wimp when his perch is in the shade."

Explore further: Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles

Related Stories

Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles

August 28, 2007

Female beetles mate to quench their thirst according to new research by a University of Exeter biologist. The males of some insect species, including certain types of beetles, moths and crickets, produce unusually large ejaculates, ...

Female guppies risk death to avoid sexual harassment

August 6, 2008

Sexual harassment from male guppies is so bad that long-suffering females will risk their lives to escape it, according to new research from Dr Safi Darden and Dr Darren Croft from Bangor University. Their work, which was ...

Why you can't hurry love

January 16, 2009

( -- Scientists have developed a mathematical model of the mating game to help explain why courtship is often protracted. The study, by researchers at UCL (University College London), University of Warwick and ...

Hidden genitalia in female water striders makes males 'sing'

June 11, 2009

In a study published in PLoS ONE June 10, Chang Seok Han and Piotr Jablonski at Seoul National University, Korea, report that by evolving a morphological shield to protect their genitalia from males' forceful copulatory attempts, ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.