Skip to main content

The evolution of male genitalia: functional integration of genital sclerites in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


It is now widely recognized that sexual selection has been important in the rapid and divergent evolution of male genital morphology. However, distinguishing among putative mechanisms of sexual selection acting on male genital morphology represents a considerable challenge. Although there is growing evidence that variation in the size and/or shape of male genital structures can determine a male's success in gaining fertilizations, our knowledge of the functional morphology of male genitalia remains limited. Here we examine the functional morphology of genital sclerites that are known to influence paternity in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus. We show that three of the sclerites form a functionally integrated unit that generates the tubular-shaped spermatophore and delivers its opening to the female's spermathecal duct. A fourth sclerite acts as a holdfast device during copulation. Our observations shed light on the mechanism by which these sclerites influence a male's paternity, and their patterns of phenotypic and genetic (co)variation. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 93, 257–266.

Keywords: cryptic female choice; male genital morphology; paternity; sexual selection; sperm competition

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2008

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more