The damselfly genus Enallagma originated in the Nearctic, and two Nearctic lineages recently underwent radiations partly associated with multiple independent habitat shifts from lakes dominated by fish predators into lakes dominated by dragonfly predators. A previous molecular study of four Palearctic morphospecies and all representative Nearctic species identified the presence of two cryptic species sets, with each set having Palearctic and Nearctic representatives. However, the cryptic species within each set are not sibling species. Here, we present quantitative data on ecologically important larval morphologies and behaviors involved in predator avoidance and on adult male morphological structures involved in mate recognition to quantify the phenotypic relationships among these cryptic species sets. For the adult stage, our data indicate strong parallel evolution of the structures involved in specific mate recognition—the male cerci. For the larval stage, morphometric analyses show that the Palearctic species evolved a nearly identical morphology to the sibling-clade members in the Nearctic that live in waters where dragonflies are the top predators. This implicates the importance of dragonfly predation in the history of the Palearctic clade. Behavioral analyses suggest population differentiation in response to the actual predator environment in the Palearctic clade, consistent with the species differentiation seen in the Nearctic. Our results suggest parallel evolution of adult traits that influence specific mate choice and larval traits that influence ecological performance underlie the striking similarity of Enallagma species across continents. This concurrent parallel evolution in both stages of a complex life cycle, especially when both stages do not share the same selective environment, may be a very unusual mechanism generating cryptic species.
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Vol. 59 • No. 9