MATTONI Camilo Ivan
The morphology of mating plugs and its formation in scorpions: Implications for intersexual participation
OVIEDO-DIEGO, MARIELA A.; MATTONI, CAMILO I.; VRECH, DAVID E.; MICHALIK, PETER; PERETTI, ALFREDO V.
JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY
WILEY-LISS, DIV JOHN WILEY & SONS INC
Lugar: New York; Año: 2020 vol. 2020 p. 1 - 1
Mating plugs have been proposed as a mechanism that has evolved to avoid sperm competition, and their structure and composition vary across taxa. The plug morphology may be related to the effectiveness of its function, and in turn, this effectiveness could be related to different evolutionary interests of the sexes. Urophonius brachycentrus and U. achalensis (Scorpiones, Bothriuridae) are highly suitable organisms to study the mating plugs since both are monandrous species with specific morpho-physiological reactions inside the female?s genitalia. Here, we analyze (1) the morphology and fine structure of the mating plugs of both species, (2) the site of production in the males and formation process of the mating plug, and (3) the changes that it undergoes over time in the female?s genitalia. In both species, a complex mating plug obliterates the female?s genital aperture and fills the genital atrium. We observed considerable interspecific variation in the mating plug morphology. A mating hemi-plug was found surrounding the capsular lobes of the hemispermatophore, which could have a mixed composition (involving portions of the hemispermatophore and glandular products). The glandular portion was transferred in a semi-solid state filling the female?s genital atrium and then hardening. Changes that the plug undergoes in the female?s genitalia (darkening and increase of the ?distal? area of the plug) indicate a participation of the female to the formation of this type of plugs. Our study provides new insights into the plugging phenomenon in scorpions, and we discussed the adaptive significance as a post-copulatory mechanism to avoid sperm competition.