Males of the damselfly Mnais costalis occur as territorial orange–winged 'fighter' males or non–territorial clear–winged 'sneaker' males. Their morph life histories differ considerably but the estimated lifetime reproductive success is the same for the two morphs. In this study we compared the developmental and reproductive costs associated with the two morphs. Orange–winged male and female reproductive costs resulted in a decline in adult fat reserves with increasing age. In contrast, the fat reserves of clear–winged males remained constant with adult age. Body size was positively correlated with mating success in orange–winged males, but had no influence on the mating success of clear–winged males. The orangewinged male flight muscle ratios (FMRs) were significantly higher than the clear–winged male and female FMRs. However, there was no difference in the size–corrected fat reserves of the two morphs; both had higher fat reserves than females. The gain in mass between eclosion and reproduction in orange–winged males and females was almost double the mass gained by clear–winged males, suggesting that clear–winged male development is less costly. An experiment in which pre–reproductive levels of nutrition were manipulated confirmed this.