An instance of intergeneric copulation in the family Rhopalidae (Heteroptera): structure, functioning and congruence of the genitalia in two different species from the standpoint of the lock-and-key hypothesis

D.A. Gapon

Abstract. An event of mating between specimens of Corizus hyoscyami and Rhopalus parumpunctatus, registered in the Novgorod Province of Russia is considered. The structure of the aedeagi in their completely inflated state and the female genitalia, as well as the functioning of the genitalia, are described and illustrated. The process of unfolding and swelling of the aedeagi is traced using the method of hydraulic inflation of the membranous parts with glass microcapillaries. The congruence of the genitalia is discussed for each species, and also for the interspecific crosses in both combinations of sexes and species. Structures of insect terminalia are divided into three groups according to their functions: 1) auxiliary structures; 2) structures providing the mutual fixation of the genitalia; and 3) structures directly performing the function of transferring seminal fluid. It is shown that in the considered variants of interspecific crosses, the parts of the genitalia belonging to the second group have almost the same structure and functioning, and most likely cannot perform the function of structural isolation. The structures of the third group have taxon-specific morphological and functioning traits and a high degree of congruence within each species. Schemes of the functioning of the genitalia in interspecific crosses, speculatively showing the impossibility of normal insemination, are proposed.
Key words: genitalia, aedeagus, gynatrium, functioning, congruence, structural reproductive isolation, lock-and-key hypothesis, insects, Heteroptera, Rhopalidae

Zoosystematica Rossica, 2019, 28(1): 3–18  ▪  Published online 7 March 2019   ▪  Open full article  

Electronic supplementary material

    Fig. 13, Fig. 14, Fig. 15, Fig. 16. Additional photographs of mating Corizus hyoscyami (male) and Rhopalus parumpunctatus (female), Novgorod Province. Photographs by E.Yu. Kirtsideli.


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