Oviposition site selection by the endangered damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale in its UK stronghold (Odonata: Coenagrionidae)

Purse, Bethan V. ORCID:; Thompson, David J.. 2009 Oviposition site selection by the endangered damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale in its UK stronghold (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). International Journal of Odonatology, 12 (2). 257-273.

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The aim of the study was to determine oviposition site selection in the endangered damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale in its UK stronghold and to determine hatching success of eggs. This aim was achieved by watching the behaviour of marked pairs from the onset of copulation to the end of oviposition and recording the number and duration of oviposition attempts and the plants oviposited in during the pairing. Pairs were either freely observed along a stream or placed in pre-placed cages within the stream. Stems into which oviposition had been observed were collected after four weeks and the fate of deposited eggs was determined. Pairs typically oviposited in several stems during multiple oviposition bouts, but usually in just one plant species. Mean total duration of oviposition behaviour was 671 s but ranged from 244 to 1,471 s. Mean number of eggs laid was 91 and ranged from 23 to 337. The female submerged completely in 15% of ovipositions. Mean egg deposition rate was 14 eggs per min but there was considerable variation. There was a significant positive relationship between total duration of oviposition in a stem and number of eggs laid in that stem. None of the habitat variables measured was a good predictor of duration of oviposition or number of eggs laid. Mean mortality of eggs was 14% at the time of collection and there was asynchronous development. Hypericum elodes was used significantly more than expected from its frequency in the environment and Eleocharis palustris, Myrica gale and Molinia caerulea significantly less.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity > BD01.1 Distributions and abundance of taxa
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 1388-7890
Additional Keywords: Odonata, dragonfly, Coenagrion mercuriale, egg hatching success, habitat selection, oviposition site.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 06 Apr 2010 09:13 +0 (UTC)

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