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Preferred Name

Phoebe Cook

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Biology


Idelle Cooper

Jonathan M. Brown

Reid N. Harris

Patrice Marie Ludwig


Female dimorphism is commonly hypothesized to be a result of adaptations to male harassment. I tested whether polymorphic female coloration in the Hawaiian damselfly Megalagrion calliphya is under selection from male sexual harassment via two possible forms of negative frequency-dependent selection: the male mimicry and the learned mate recognition hypotheses. I measured male behavior toward tethered females at mating sites under naturally occurring conditions and found no evidence for either hypothesis. Harassment rates did not significantly differ between female morphs. One measure of morph frequency did predict harassment of all individuals, but this relationship was driven by a single population. I found no evidence that negative frequency-dependent selection contributes to the maintenance of polymorphism in this species. Future studies of female polymorphism should test other selective pressures which may act on polymorphism.

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