Egg microsculpture has been used at various phylogenetic levels as an informative morphological character set; in particular, the structure of the micropylar rosette has been used to differentiate between closely related taxa at the species-level, but intraspecific variation in this character set remains largely undocumented. Here we show that the number and shape of elements in the micropylar rosette can vary substantially within a population of a single species and even within individual females. A significant proportion (52%) of this variation is attributable to the source female (but uncorrelated with female size), suggesting that some unknown maternal effect influences micropyle structure. Due to this large intrapopulation variation, the utility of this character set and the taxonomic rank to which it is applied should be evaluated carefully.
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