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Studies show damselfly aggression relates to wing coloration

By Sylvia Lutze

May 8, 2015 2:22 a.m.

Species versus species aggression is never considered positive for a population. Any aggression is costly and can cause many to die in the battle, so animals of different species avoid fighting. However, this phenomenon is still observed frequently, and a recent study by UCLA researchers has shed light on the reason behind this.

UCLA researchers studying damselflies, which are similar to dragonflies, changed the coloration of females from different species of damselflies, among other experiments. They found there was a higher rate of cross-species aggression when the females’ coloration was more similar between species. When coloration was significantly different, the species coexisted with little aggression.

Males often mistake females of other species as potential mates and pursue the females despite an inability to reproduce with them. This causes males to attack other species because they think they are pursing their own mates.

Compiled by Sylvia Lutze, Bruin contributor.

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