Although several evolutionary forces have been proposed to contribute to genital morphological diversification, it is unclear which might act early during the evolution of novel structural traits. We test the hypothesis that mismatch between interacting male and female secondary sexual structures gives rise to increased harm to females, consistent with the outcome predicted from a history of sexual conflict. We mate Drosophila sechellia females to males from a collection of D. mauritiana-D. sechellia interspecific genetic introgression lines that possess quantitative morphological variation in the posterior lobe of the genital arch, an external genital structure that can cause wounds to the female abdomen during mating. We find that males with smaller posterior lobes, and those that possess lobes with similarities in shape to D. mauritiana, cause more severe wounding compared to either D. sechellia males with strain-specific morphologies or introgression males that possess larger lobes or lobes with more pronounced D. sechellia features. These results suggest a possible history of sexual conflict during the evolution of the posterior lobe in D. sechellia, but also suggest a potential contribution of divergence in sensory recognition mechanisms to posterior lobe evolution.
- Genital coupling
- Morphological evolution
- Sexual antagonism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)