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Like a glove: do the dimensions of male adanal suckers and tritonymphal female docking papillae correlate in the Proctophyllodidae (Astigmata: Analgoidea)?

Byers, K.A. and Proctor, H.C.

2014 - Volume: 54 Issue: 1 pages: 3-14


Acari cooperative correlated morphology feather mites precopulatory guarding


Precopulatory guarding of tritonymphal females by adult males is common in feather mites (Acari: Astigmata). Within the Proctophyllodidae (Astigmata: Analgoidea), some genera possess morphological features in both sexes that have been suggested to enhance male attachment. One such structure in tritonymphal females is the development of a pair of fleshy lobe-like docking papillae, while males possess a pair of ventral adanal suckers that are proposed to fit over top of these projections. To determine whether these structures are strongly correlated in size, we measured the dimensions of the male adanal suckers and tritonymphal female docking papillae in three genera of mites: Neodectes spp. Park and Atyeo, 1971, Proterothrix spp. Gaud, 1968 (Proctophyllodidae: Pterodectinae), and Proctophyllodes spp. Robin, 1877 (Proctophyllodidae: Proctophyllodinae). We looked for correlations in these measurements as an indication of selective cooperation. Our results did not reveal strong positive correlations between the dimensions of these structures in tritonymphal females and adult males. We propose several reasons for why we may not have detected strong evidence of a good fit between anal suckers and tritonymphal papillae that are related to the biology of feather mites, and suggest steps to expand on this research in future.

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2014 Byers, K.A. and Proctor, H.C.
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