Sexual conflict in Gerris gillettei (Insecta: Hemiptera): intraspecific intersexual correlated morphology and experimental assessment of behaviour and fitness


Julie Turgeon, Département de Biologie, Pavillon Alexandre-Vachon, 1045 av. de la Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Québec city, Canada G1V 0A6.
Tel.: +418 656 3135; fax: +418 656 2043; e-mail:


The contemporary dynamics of sexually antagonistic coevolution caused by sexual conflicts have seldom been investigated at the intraspecific level. We characterized natural populations of Gerris gillettei and documented significant intersexual correlations for morphological traits previously related to sexual conflict in water striders. These results strongly indicate that sexually antagonistic coevolution contributed to population differentiation and resulted in different balances of armaments between the sexes within natural populations of this species. No-choice mating experiments further revealed that both male and male–female relative arms levels influence copulation duration. However, there were no asymmetries in reproductive behaviour and fitness between sympatric and allopatric mating pairs, suggesting that differentiation by sexual conflict was not sufficient to influence the outcome of mating interactions. Altogether, these results question the relative importance of female connexival spines vs. genitalia traits in mediating pre- and post-copulatory conflict in Gerris.