Divergence in genital traits between closely related species is occasionally greater in sympatry than in allopatry, possibly because directional selection facilitates differentiation so as to prevent unfit hybridization. Here, we report for the first time that the shape of a functional genital structure, cercus, differs markedly between sympatrically and allopatrically occurring individuals in two brachypterous grasshopper species, Parapodisma setouchiensis Inoue 1979 and Parapodisma subastris Huang 1983 (Orthoptera: Podisminae). Although in areas of allopatry the cerci were straight in both species, in areas of sympatry the cerci of P. setouchiensis had an almost orthogonal bend. Furthermore, the angles of curvature of the cerci of P. setouchiensis varied continuously along a transect through sympatric and allopatric areas. We also observed copulation behavior in pairs and found that the apical part of the cerci was inserted into the space between the posterior edges of the seventh abdominal sternite and the seventh abdominal tergite of the female. We suggest that the orthogonally bent cerci allows the male to obtain a firm grip on the female's abdomen and propose that the conspicuous variation in the cerci of P. setouchiensis contributes to the strength of reinforcement of a premating isolation system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science