Volume 45, Issue 1 p. 90-96
Original Article

Perch selection in Sympetrum species (Odonata: Libellulidae): importance of vegetation structure and composition

Michal Hykel

Michal Hykel

Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic

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Jana Růžičková

Jana Růžičková

MTA-ELTE-MTM Ecology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary

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Aleš Dolný

Corresponding Author

Aleš Dolný

Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic

Correspondence: Aleš Dolný, Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Chittussiho 10, CZ-710 00 Slezská Ostrava, Czech Republic. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 08 July 2019
Citations: 8
Associate Editor: Christopher Hassall

Abstract

1. Perching dragonflies are closely associated with the physical structure of vegetation because adults utilise plants when foraging, thermoregulating, and mate-seeking. However, little attention has been given to which structural attribute of vegetation is playing a key role within foraging habitat use.

2. This study focused on the influence of different features of perches on their selection by adult dragonflies. As a model group, a typical percher behavioural guild of Sympetrum was used and experimental plots with artificial perches and different structural properties were established.

3. It was found that adults preferred perch sticks with a wider diameter and larger spacing. It is assumed that these perching sites are advantageous because their base is more stable, they provide the best view for successful foraging, and there is no interference among individuals.

4. This study also revealed significant differences between male and female preferences. Females used less structured vegetation formed by thin perches in high densities. It is suggested that female discrimination is influenced by the higher competitiveness of males, which is related to their agonistic behaviour.

5. These results suggest that the availability of perches in the foraging habitat might be an essential requirement for adults. However, within the terrestrial surroundings of breeding sites, the structure of vegetation providing conditions for perching may be associated only with certain habitats. In intensive landscapes, physically structured vegetation can be limited or completely absent.