SPECIES RECOGNITION AND PATTERNS OF POPULATION VARIATION IN THE REPRODUCTIVE STRUCTURES OF A DAMSELFLY GENUS

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Abstract

The selection pressures imposed by mate choice for species identity should impose strong stabilizing selection on traits that confer species identity to mates. Thus, we expect that such traits should show nonoverlapping distributions among closely related species, but show little to no variance among populations within a species. We tested these predictions by comparing levels of population differentiation in the sizes and shapes of male cerci (i.e., the clasper structures used for species identity during mating) of six Enallagma damselfly species. Cerci shapes were nonoverlapping among Enallagma species, and five of six Enallagma species showed no population variation across their entire species ranges. In contrast, cerci sizes overlapped among species and varied substantially among populations within species. These results, taken with previous studies, suggest that cerci shape is a primary feature used in species recognition used to discriminate conspecific from heterospecifics during mating.

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