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Hierarchical comparative analysis of genetic and genitalic geographical structure: testing patterns of male and female genital evolution in the scarab beetle Phyllophaga hirticula (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

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It is generally accepted that genitalia are among the fastest evolving characters in insects and that selection on these structures may increase speciation rates in groups with polygamous mating systems. If selection is causing genitalic divergence between or among populations of a species, one prediction is that geographical structure of genitalic morphology would be in place before genetic structure of a rapidly evolving neutral marker. The current study tests this hypothesis in the geographically widespread scarab beetle Phyllophaga hirticula by evaluating whether standing variation in male and female genitalia is more or less geographically structured than a mitochondrial genetic marker. Geographical structure of mitochondrial (mt)DNA and male and female genitalic shape were analysed using analysis of variance, multivariate analysis of variance, Mantel tests, and tests of spatial autocorrelation. The results show that, although female genitalia are more geographically structured than mtDNA, male genitalia are not. This pattern suggests that selection on female genitalic variation may be causing divergence of these structures among populations. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 96, 135–149.

Keywords: comparative studies; morphometrics; population divergence; sexual selection

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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