Thursday, June 23, 2005

ENV: Gay Damsels . . .

A greater part of my current quests afield has been dedicated to searches for Odonates. Greg Lasley and I have spent many days afield trying to fill in gaps in distribution for dragonflies and damselflies in Texas. I'd have to say our interests have assortatively distributed themselves somewhat -- Greg into Anisoptera, me into Zygoptera. Anyway, it's always nice to see some public plugs for these finest of fliers.

Pharyngula today posts comments on far-flung island Zygops, some of which might be parthenogenic (quoting from Sherratt T. N. and C.D. Beatty. 2005. Island of the clones. Nature 435:1039-1040), which leads to a comment about males choosing males to "bond" with. The latest National Geographic Online has weighed in with further research.

All of it's fascinating reading of course.

From Pharyngula: (be sure to read the comments)

A Damsel Doesn't Need Any Knights



And from National Geographic Online:

Damselfly Mating Game Turns Some Males Gay


Disguises used by female damselflies to avoid unwanted sexual advances can cause males to seek out their own sex, a new study suggests.

Belgian researchers investigated why male damselflies often try to mate with each other. The scientists say the reason could lie with females that adopt a range of appearances to throw potential mates off their scent. In an evolutionary battle of the sexes, males become attracted to a range of different looks, with some actually preferring a more masculine appearance.

The study, published recently in the journal Biology Letters, says such evolutionary selection pressures could also explain homosexual behavior seen in males of other animals whose females assume a variety of guises. Such "polymorphic" species are seen in dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds, and lizards.

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