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Left-handed sperm removal by male Calopteryx damselflies (Odonata)

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      Abstract

      Male genitalia in several insect species are asymmetry in right and left shape. However, the function of such asymmetric male genitalia is still unclear. We found that the male genitalia of the damselfly Calopteryx cornelia (Odonata: Calopterygidae) are morphologically symmetric just after emergence but asymmetric after reproductive maturation. Males remove rival sperm stored in the female bursa copulatrix (single spherical sac) and the following spermatheca (Y-shaped tubular sac) prior to their own ejaculation to prevent sperm competition. Males possess the aedeagus with a recurved head to remove bursal sperm and a pair of spiny lateral processes to remove spermathecal sperm. The right lateral process is less developed than the left, and sperm stored in the right spermathecal tube are rarely removed. Experiments involving surgical cutting of each lateral process demonstrated that only the left process functions in spermathecal sperm removal. Thus, males of C. cornelia are left-handed in their sperm removal behaviour at copulation.

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      Most cited references 27

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      Dual function of the damselfly penis: sperm removal and transfer.

       J E R Waage (1979)
      The male of Calopteryx maculata (Beauvois) (Odonata) uses its penis not only to transfer sperm to the female but also to remove sperm deposited in the female's sperm storage organs from previous matings. Apparently, no such sperm removal function has previously been attributed to the intromittent organ of any animal.
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        Female Control: Sexual Selection by Cryptic Female Choice

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          Frequency-dependent natural selection in the handedness of scale-eating cichlid fish.

          Frequency-dependent natural selection has been cited as a mechanism for maintaining polymorphisms in biological populations, although the process has not been documented conclusively in field study. Here, it is demonstrated that the direction of mouth-opening (either left-handed or right-handed) in scale-eating cichlid fish of Lake Tanganyika is determined on the basis of simple genetics and that the abundance of individuals with left- or right-handedness depends on frequency-dependent natural selection. Attacking from behind, right-handed individuals snatched scales from the prey's left flank and left-handed ones from the right flank. Within a given population, the frequency of the two phenotypes oscillated around unity. This phenomenon was effected through frequency-dependent selection exerted by the prey's alertness. Thus, individuals of the rare phenotype had more success as predators than those of the more common phenotype.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Minamiosawa 1-1, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397 Japan
            Contributors
            tsuchiya.suzuki.kaori@gmail.com
            fhayashi@tmu.ac.jp
            Journal
            Springerplus
            Springerplus
            SpringerPlus
            Springer International Publishing (Cham )
            2193-1801
            17 March 2014
            17 March 2014
            2014
            : 3
            3976488
            866
            10.1186/2193-1801-3-144
            © Tsuchiya and Hayashi; licensee Springer. 2014

            This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.

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            © The Author(s) 2014

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