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Am Nat. 2004 Jan;163(1):1-15. Epub 2003 Dec 24.

Developmental stability and adaptive variability of male genitalia in sexually dimorphic beetles.

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  • 1Food Resources Education and Research Center, Faculty of Agriculture, Kobe University, Uzurano, Kasai, 675-2103, Japan.


Animal genitalia often show distinct developmental and evolutionary relationships with other parts of the body. Morphological observations of 29 sexually dimorphic and monomorphic beetle species in 16 genera of families Scarabaeidae and Lucanidae, Coleoptera, in 53 locations revealed that male genitalia size was consistently and distinctly less variable than that of other body parts within the same population, while it differentiated more readily among different populations than other body parts. The most noticeable genitalia size differentiation occurred in populations that coexisted with morphologically and ecologically similar congeneric species. Such differentiation may indicate selection for reproductive isolation. These characteristics of genitalia morphology may have been instrumental in generating the speciation pattern seen in most beetles.

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