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J Evol Biol. 2010 Jun 1;23(6):1321-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.01991.x. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Sexual coevolution in the traumatically inseminating plant bug genus Coridromius.

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Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Sexual conflict has recently been proposed as a driving force behind the rapid diversification of genitalia among sexually reproducing organisms. In traumatically inseminating insects, males stab females in the side of the body with needle-like genitalia, ejaculating into their body cavity. Such mating is costly to females and has led to the evolution of cost-reducing 'paragenitalia' in some species. Whereas some consider this evidence of sexually antagonistic coevolution, others remain unconvinced. Variation in the reproductive morphology of both sexes - particularly males - is alleged to be negligible, contradicting the expectations of a coevolutionary arms race. Here, we use a phylogeny of the traumatically inseminating plant bug genus Coridromius to show that external female paragenitalia have evolved multiply across the genus and are correlated with changes in male genital shape. This pattern is characteristic of an evolutionary arms race driven by sexual conflict.

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