floating on water surface

Kelvin F. Conrad Kelvin F. Conrad" <k.f.conrad@talk21.com
Fri, 21 Jan 2000 10:46:12 -0000

Odonata - http://www.listbot.com/cgi-bin/subscriber

I did say I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek with my anthopomorphisms, but I
was being a bit serious too.

When you have time to study a particular species, it usually becomes
apparent that certain behaviours are components of ritual-like displays. All
the calopteryx I have seen or read about appear to have some form of a
'cross' display, for example. We could all do well, particularly with pint
in hand, to sit and discuss the evolutionary significance of such a

Often, though, we get caught up in trying to ascribe evolutionary
significance to a behaviour that is particularly bizarre, but rarely seen.
In that case, it might also be useful to consider some more proximate
causes, such as cooling in the case of water diving.

Don't get me wrong -- I think the calopteryx floating behaviour is probably
a sexully-selected 'display' and will happily postulate all manner of
mechanisms for it working -- maybe even test a few if I get the chance.

It just pays to remember that, as one of the Murphy's Laws goes: Given the
most carefully controlled conditions, and experimental animal will do as it
darn well pleases. (Or, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar).

The main solution, which you seen to suggest, Dennis, is that everyone get
out there and spend more time watching odonates. I'm for it!


To unsubscribe, write to dragonflies-unsubscribe@listbot.com
Status: N