Antagonistic selection by different predators has been suggested to underlie variation in morphological antipredator traits among and within species. Direct empirical proof is equivocal, however, given the potential interrelationships of morphological and behavioral traits. Here, we tested whether spines in larvae of the dragonfly Leucorrhinia caudalis, which are selected for by fish predators, are selected against by invertebrate aeshnid predators. Using a manipulative approach by cutting spines instead of making comparisons among species or inducing spines, we were able to decouple the presence of spines from other potentially covarying morphological antipredator traits. Results showed survival selection for the loss of spines imposed by invertebrate predation. Moreover, spined and nonspined larval L. caudalis did not differ in the key antipredator behaviors, activity level, and escape burst swimming speed. The observed higher mortality of spined larvae can therefore be directly linked to selection by aeshnid predation against spines.
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Vol. 60 • No. 6