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Morphology and mating behaviour in the millipede Megaphyllum unilineatum (C.L. Koch, 1838) (Myriapoda, Diplopoda, Julida) under laboratory conditions

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posted on 30.05.2022, 09:00 authored by Vukica Vujić, Jelena Milovanović, Zvezdana Jovanović, Boris Dudić, Slobodan Makarov, Sofija Pavković-Lučić, Bojan Ilić


Although morphological variation may have an effect on behaviour, there are only a few studies on julid millipedes in which the influence of the variability of some morphological traits on mating success has been explored. Hence, objectives of this study were to investigate mating behaviour in laboratory conditions and identify traits that could possibly be the target of pre-copulatory selection in the julid species Megaphyllum unilineatum. Behavioural sequences were quantified in three types of tests: a mating arena test, a female choice test, and a male choice test. Although the number of contacts with the first chosen partner (from the mating arena test) was greater than with newly offered individuals in choice tests, values of the sexual selection coefficient did not statistically confirm this preference. In addition, analyses of linear measurements (trunk height and width, length of the whole body, antennae, walking legs, and gonopod flagella) in individuals of different mating status were also conducted, as well as geometric morphometric analyses of size and shape of the antennae, heads, walking legs, and gonopod promeres and opisthomeres in such individuals. Antennal length and shape, head shape, and the walking legs shape, differed significantly, depending on the mating status of females. In males of different mating status, statistical significance was established only in the promere centroid size. The differences in certain behavioural sequences in M. unilineatum are similar to those previously reported in M. bosniense, while such similarity is not detected with respect to morphological variation in the mentioned species.