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Size, shape, and direction matters: Matching secondary genital structures in male and female mites using multiple microscopy techniques and 3D modeling

TitleSize, shape, and direction matters: Matching secondary genital structures in male and female mites using multiple microscopy techniques and 3D modeling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsCómbita-Heredia O, Gulbronson CJ, Ochoa R, Quintero-Gutiérrez EJavier, Bauchan G, Klompen H
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume16
Paginatione0254974
Date Published8
ISSN1932-6203
Abstract

Studies of female genital structures have generally lagged behind comparable studies of male genitalia, in part because of an assumption of a lower level of variability, but also because internal genitalia are much more difficult to study. Using multiple microscopy techniques, including video stereomicroscopy, fluorescence microscopy, low-temperature scanning electron microscopy (LT-SEM), and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) we examined whether the complex sperm transfer structures in males of Megalolaelaps colossus (Acari: Mesostigmata) are matched by similarly complex internal structures in the female. While both LT-SEM and CLSM are well suited for obtaining high-quality surface images, CLSM also proved to be a valuable technique for observing internal anatomical structures. The long and coiled sperm transfer organ on the chelicera of the males (spermatodactyl) largely matches an equally complex, but internal, spiral structure in the females in shape, size, and direction. This result strongly suggests some form of genital coevolution. A hypothesis of sexual conflict appears to provide the best fit for all available data (morphology and life history).

URLhttps://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254974
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0254974