Allometry of secondary, primary, and nonsexual traits in the beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo meridionalis)

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The static allometry between the size of a trait and the body size results from the net selection forces acting on the evolution of both the trait and the body size. An increased knowledge of the functional significance of traits is necessary to understand observed allometric patterns. We studied several traits of males of the beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo meridionalis Sélys, 1873), for which there is a good functional knowledge of the genitalic traits and ornaments. We found positive allometry for the wing spot size (considered a secondary sexual trait) and for the distal width (but not length) of the anal appendages, which are used for grasping the female prior to copulation. Regarding the male secondary genitalia, the length but not the width of the big horns of the aedeagus showed an isometric pattern. The aedeagus shaft length showed a negative allometric pattern, while its distal width did not show a significant regression. The slopes of the regressions were higher when using wing length than when using body length as estimators of body size, with the exception of wing spot length. Results are discussed based on the functional significance of the study traits, as well as the pre- and post-copulatory selective pressures acting on them.

Keywords: Calopteryx virgo meridionalis; aedeagus; appendices anaux supérieurs; beautiful demoiselle; body size; caloptérix vierge méridional; genitalia; organes génitaux; superior anal appendages; tache alaire; taille du corps; wing spot; édéage

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, E-36005, Pontevedra, Spain.

Publication date: September 22, 2012

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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