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Dragonflies and DamselfliesModel Organisms for Ecological and Evolutionary Research$
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Alex Córdoba-Aguilar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230693.001.0001

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The evolution of sex-limited colour polymorphism

The evolution of sex-limited colour polymorphism

(p.219) CHAPTER 17 The evolution of sex-limited colour polymorphism
Dragonflies and Damselflies

Hans Van Gossum

Tom N. Sherratt

Adolfo Cordero-Rivera

Oxford University Press

Species that exhibit genetic colour polymorphism are ideal for studying the micro-evolutionary forces that maintain genetic variation in nature. One very intriguing polymorphism is the coexistence of several discrete morphs within only one sex, with one morph often resembling the opposite sex in colour and sometimes behaviour. In males, this resemblance often allows access to receptive females, while in females the polymorphism appears related to avoiding excessive male sexual harassment. One might wonder why natural selection does not simply give rise to a single best male and female type for each species. The phenomenon of sex-limited polymorphisms provides an important opportunity to test contemporary ideas relating to sexual selection and sexual conflict, and the diversity of polymorphisms that have arisen in odonates clearly offers one of the best natural systems for among species and population comparative research.

Keywords:   colour polymorphism, selection, sexual conflict, harassment, odonates, comparative research

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