Rapid diversification of male genitalia and mating strategies in Ohomopterus ground beetles

J Evol Biol. 2007 Jul;20(4):1385-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2007.01338.x.


We analysed evolutionary diversification and covariation in male genitalia and four mating traits related to sexual selection, i.e. testis size, spermatophore size, copulation duration and post-copulatory guarding duration, in Ohomopterus ground beetles using phylogenetically independent contrasts. Male genital size and mating duration have evolved more rapidly than body size and the other traits studied. Male genital size was negatively correlated with copulation duration, suggesting that elongated male genitalia may enable decreased time investment in a single copulation because it is more effective at facilitating spermatophore deposition. Male genital size was positively correlated with spermatophore size, suggesting coevolution between offensive and defensive male mating tactics because the elongated male genitalia may be advantageous in displacement of rivals' plug-like spermatophores, and decreased mating duration may intensify sperm competition. Thus, the remarkable diversity of male genitalia in Ohomopterus may have been facilitated by the interplay between inter- and intrasexual selection processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Coleoptera / anatomy & histology*
  • Coleoptera / physiology
  • Copulation
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Male
  • Male