Published in Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 83, Issue 8, January 1, 2005, pages 1128-1133. Copyright © 2005 National Research Council Canada. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/Z05-103.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author S.J. McCauley was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The relationship between habitat distribution, growth rate, and plasticity was examined in the larvae of three species of dragonfly in the genus Libellula L., 1758. Growth rates were compared under three conditions: in the absence of predation risk, in the presence of sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819; Pisciformes: Centrachidae), and in the presence of invertebrate predators. I assessed how the habitat distributions of the three species of dragonfly, specifically how commonly they occur with fish, were related to growth rates and to the level of growth plasticity under different levels of perceived predation risk. There was a negative relationship between growth rate and the frequency with which species coexist with sunfish. Growth-rate plasticity was limited and does not appear to be important in determining the ability of species to coexist with alternative top predator types. Only one species exhibited growth-rate plasticity, decreasing growth in response to the predator with which it most commonly coexists but not to the species which poses the greatest predation risk. A comparison of growth rates and activity levels in the presence and absence of these predators suggests that growth and activity level parallel each other in these species.