Update: First study from the British Demoiselle project now published!

During the 2018 flight season, a study of Demoiselles in Great Britain was launched through iNaturalist. The goal of this study, run by researchers at Durham University, was to learn more about how wing colouration changes through time and in different locations in these species by recruiting participants to submit their photographs of Demoiselles.

Overall, over a hundred ‘citizen scientists’ from across the U.K. submitted a total of nearly 500 photographs to the project. So far, the researchers have measured the relative size of male Banded Demoiselles’ wingspots from these photographs.

One interesting result from this study is that there is a change in the average wingspot size over the flight season: males emerging early in the year tend to have smaller wingspots than males that emerge in the peak season. For instance, here is a photograph of a male taken on June 1st:

and here is a photograph of a male taken a few weeks later on June 23rd:

We report these results, along with other details, in a scientific manuscript, now published in the journal Ecography, available to view here.

These findings are only the beginning. In the future, we will develop new methods to extract measurements of female wing colour (e.g., how light or dark they are), in order to test whether female traits might respond evolutionarily to mating competition between species. We also plan to use the methods and findings developed in Britain to serve as a case study for expanding analyses to the entire range of banded and beautiful demoiselles.

To continue building on our analyses, we hope that iNaturalist users, who were an integral part of last flight season’s success, will continue to observe and submit observations of beautiful and banded demoiselles throughout Great Britain.

Posted by smokyrubyspot smokyrubyspot, April 06, 2019 09:44

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