Sexual dimorphism in size and shape has been studied in a wide range of organisms, but intraspecific variation in sexual dimorphism remains largely unexplored. In many parasitoid species the diversity of morphological-variation patterns within species is complicated by host effects. It is not known whether the magnitude and direction of sexual size dimorphism can be affected by the developmental environment (i.e., different host species). In this study we explored patterns of sexual dimorphism in size and shape in the aphid parasitoid Ephedrus persicae Froggatt. The analyzed sample consisted of 83 females and 54 males reared from five species of host aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) from various areas of the Palaearctic region. The most notable result of the study is that E. persicae displays divergent patterns of sexual dimorphism in body size and wing size: females have larger bodies than males, but males have larger wings. Our analysis of wing size and wing shape also showed significant within-species variation in the degree and pattern of sexual dimorphism. Variation in wing shape between the sexes seems to be more conserved than variation in wing size. Variation in wing shape is influenced predominantly by host (biotype) and to a lesser extent by sexual dimorphism within a biotype.
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