Possible atavisms of genitalia in two species of earwig (Dermaptera), Proreus simulans (Chelisochidae) and Euborellia plebeja (Anisolabididae)

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Male and female genitalia generally show a rapid evolutionary rate, which raises the problems related to homologization and the determination of the polarities of evolutionary changes. In earwigs (Dermaptera), multiple or branched female sperm-storage organs (spermathecae) have been reported for members of the Karschiellidae, Pygidicranidae, and Diplatyidae, collectively termed the "basal" Dermaptera. Whether the complicated spermathecae represent a plesiomorphy or an apomorphy has not been resolved. Here I report the occurrence of multiple or branched spermathecae in gamma-irradiated samples of two earwig species, Euborellia plebeja (Dohrn, 1863) (Anisolabididae) and Proreus simulans (Stål, 1860) (Chelisochidae), which belong to the "higher" Dermaptera (Apachyidae, Labiduridae, Anisolabididae, Spongiphoridae, Chelisochidae, and Forficulidae). Females belonging to the higher Dermaptera normally have a single-unbranched spermatheca. I discuss examples of possible atavisms in relation to the evolutionary pathways of spermathecal morphology. Possible atavisms in the number of male organs for sperm transfer (virgae) are also reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalArthropod Structure and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Branching morphogenesis
  • Character reversion
  • Dermaptera
  • Gamma-ray irradiation
  • Genital morphology
  • Organ-number evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Insect Science


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