Possible coevolution of male and female genital form and function in a calopterygid damselfly


Alex Córdoba-Aguilar, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apdo. Postal 70-275, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria 04510, México, D. F.
Tel.: ++52 (55) 56 22 90 03; fax: ++52 (55) 56 16 19 76;
e-mail: acordoba@ecologia.unam.mx


In this paper some evolutionary changes of genitalia in the damselfly Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis are investigated by determining their current and past function. Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis males stimulate females by aedeagal frictioning on a set of vaginal sensilla. The aedeagus is considerably variable and positively correlates with volumes of ejected sperm from the spermatheca. Interestingly, females show a significantly reduced sensillum number compared with other family members. Here I explore whether there existed directional selection for aedeagal width at its evolutionary onset; and whether the sensillum reduction evolved to make sperm ejection less effective. Using C. haemorrhoidalis aedeagi in females whose species retained the ancestral conditions (no stimulatory ability and large sensillum numbers), Hetaerina cruentata and C. xanthostoma, my results corroborated these assumptions: variation in aedeagal width inversely correlated with sperm ejection rate while sperm ejection was higher in species with high sensillum numbers. A suggested coevolutionary interpretation of these results in C. haemorrhoidalis is that aedeagal width was favoured which was followed by a sensillum reduction.