Bin Jiang, Dirk J. Mikolajewski

Shift in predation regime mediates diversification of foraging behaviour in a dragonfly genus

News from May 12, 2018


  1. Behavioural adaptations to avoid and evade predators are common. Many studies have investigated population divergence in response to changes in predation regime within species, but studies exploring interspecific patterns are scant. Studies on interspecific divergence can infer common outcomes from evolutionary processes and highlight the role of environmental constraints in shaping species traits.
  2. Species of the dragonfly genus Leucorrhinia underwent well‐studied shifts from habitats being dominated by predatory fish (fish lakes) to habitat being dominated by predatory invertebrates (dragonfly lakes). This change in top predators resulted in a set of adaptive trait modifications in response to the different hunting styles of both predator types: whereas predatory fish actively search and pursue prey, invertebrate predator follow a sit‐and‐wait strategy, not pursuing prey.
  3. Here it is shown that the habitat shift‐related change in selection regime on larval Leucorrhinia caused species in dragonfly lakes to evolve increased larval foraging and activity, and results suggest that they lost the ability to recognise predatory fish.
  4. The results of the present study highlight the impact of predators on behavioural trait diversification with habitat‐specific predation regimes selecting for distinct behavioural expression.

Ecological Entomology, 43(4): 525-533. Link

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