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1 August 2002 GENITALIC POLYMORPHISM—A CHALLENGE FOR TAXONOMY
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Abstract

Genitalic polymorphism (including polymorphism of secondary sexual characters) is a typical example of a phenomenon that found no place in taxonomy as there was no framework to place it. Neither the speciation models used in ecology nor the species concept currently in use with taxonomists “allowed” species to have discontinuously polymorphic genitalia. Recent developments in ecological modeling that make sympatric speciation acceptable, and changing ideas about sexual selection, both imply genitalic polymorphism in particular circumstances. According to the mate check hypothesis the presence of hidden but crucial new adaptive characters is checked during courtship and mating. Sympatric speciation with changing behavioral characters without shifts in somatic traits, goes through a phase of intraspecific polymorphism during which the mating module obtains new traits backing up the newly acquired hidden character. It implies that this speciation process ends with the alteration of the recognition module. After the completion of the speciation process, cases of atavism with loss of behavioral adaptations through deleterious mutations or reversions and reappearance of ancestral genital characters, are expected to occur regularly. Without these, the mate check mechanism would be meaningless. A number of examples of both types of genitalic polymorphism in arachnids are presented. It explains why genitalic polymorphism is rarely observed although it might be a common phenomenon.

Rudy Jocqué "GENITALIC POLYMORPHISM—A CHALLENGE FOR TAXONOMY," The Journal of Arachnology 30(2), 298-306, (1 August 2002). https://doi.org/10.1636/0161-8202(2002)030[0298:GPACFT]2.0.CO;2
Received: 1 July 2001; Published: 1 August 2002
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