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Genetica. 2009 Jan;135(1):13-23. doi: 10.1007/s10709-008-9247-9. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Evolution of the male genitalia: morphological variation of the aedeagi in a natural population of Drosophila mediopunctata.

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Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niteroi, RJ, Brazil.


To investigate the size and shape of the aedeagus of Drosophila mediopunctata, we used basic statistics and geometric morphometrics. We estimated the level of phenotypic variation, natural and laboratory heritability as well as the phenotypic correlations between aedeagus and wing measures. The wing was used as an indicator for both body size and shape. Positive significant correlation was obtained for centroid size of aedeagus and wing for field parents and their offspring reared in the laboratory. Many positive significant phenotypic correlations were found among linear measures of both organs. The phenotypic correlations were few for aedeagus and wing shape. Coefficients of variation of the measures were on average larger in the aedeagus than in the wing for offspring reared in laboratory, but not for flies coming from the field. Significant "natural" heritabilities were found for five linear measures of the aedeagus and only one for the wing. Few significant heritabilities were found for aedeagus and wing shape, mostly ones concerning the uniform components. In an exploratory analysis, we found that inversion DS-PC0 is associated with both uniform and nonuniform components of shape, respectively, in the wing and aedeagus. Our results do not support the lock-and-key hypothesis for the male genitalia evolution, but cannot refute the sexual selection and pleiotropy hypotheses.

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