Biological journal of the linnean society vol:86 issue:4 pages:515-523
In many damselfly species mature females exhibit colour polymorphism: one female morph resembles the conspecific male (androchrome) while the others do not (gynochromes). Hypotheses for the maintenance of such polymorphisms differ mainly as to whether they are based on density- and/or frequency-dependent selection and on the nature of the frequency dependence. We collected lifetime fitness data (individual lifespan, number of copulations and number of ovipositions) for female morphs of the damselfly Ischnura elegans from 15 insectaries differing in population parameters (density, sex ratio and ratio of andro- to gynochromes). Both density and frequency affected a specific set of the studied fitness components. While morph frequency influenced lifespan, sex ratio influenced the number of copulations, and density affected lifespan and the number of ovipositions. Clearly, discrepancies among studies may be generated if the studied fitness components differ. Our final fitness estimate, the number of ovipositions, was only influenced by density, thereby not supporting frequency-based hypotheses. Contrary to expectation under the current density-based hypothesis, androchromes compared to gynochromes had a lower number of ovipositions at high density. We discuss our findings in the light of mechanisms maintaining the female polymorphism. (c) 2005 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2005, 86, 515-523.