Postmating sexual selection theory predicts that in allopatry reproductive traits diverge rapidly and that the resulting differentiation in these traits may lead to restrictions to gene flow between populations and, eventually, reproductive isolation. In this paper we explore the potential for this premise in a group of damselflies of the family Calopterygidae, in which postmating sexual mechanisms are especially well understood. Particularly, we tested if in allopatric populations the sperm competition mechanisms and genitalic traits involved in these mechanisms have indeed diverged as sexual selection theory predicts. We did so in two different steps. First, we compared the sperm competition mechanisms of two allopatric populations of Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis (one Italian population studied here and one Spanish population previously studied). Our results indicate that in both populations males are able to displace spermathecal sperm, but the mechanism used for sperm removal between both populations is strikingly different. In the Spanish population males seem to empty the spermathecae by stimulating females, whereas in the Italian population males physically remove sperm from the spermathecae. Both populations also exhibit differences in genital morphometry that explain the use of different mechanisms: the male lateral processes are narrower than the spermathecal ducts in the Italian population, which is the reverse in the Spanish population. The estimated degree of phenotypic differentiation between these populations based on the genitalic traits involved in sperm removal was much greater than the differentiation based on a set of other seven morphological variables, suggesting that strong directional postmating sexual selection is indeed the main evolutionary force behind the reproductive differentiation between the studied populations. In a second step, we examined if a similar pattern in genital morphometry emerge in allopatric populations of this and other three species of the same family (Calopteryx splendens, C. virgo and Hetaerina cruentata). Our results suggest that there is geographic variation in the sperm competition mechanisms in all four studied species. Furthermore, genitalic morphology was significantly divergent between populations within species even when different populations were using the same copulatory mechanism. These results can be explained by probable local coadaptation processes that have given rise to an ability or inability to reach and displace spermathecal sperm in different populations. This set of results provides the first direct evidence of intraspecific evolution of genitalic traits shaped by postmating sexual selection.
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Vol. 58 • No. 2