Pholcids are unusual among spiders by showing a functional correlation between the male chelicerae and the female external genitalia (‘epigynum’). At the onset of copulation, the male contacts the epi- gynum with his sexually modified chelicerae, and during copulation parts of the female genitalia are firmly locked between male chelicerae and palps. This correlation has been shown both by direct ob- servations (Huber 1995, 1997, 1998a, 2002, Huber & Eberhard 1997, Uhl & al. 1995) and by compar- ative analyses (Kraus 1984, Huber 1999, 2003b). Comparative analyses are possible in cases where the female offers specific pockets or cavities for specific male apophyses (Fig. 1). Such cooperative structures have evolved several times convergently within the family (Huber 2000, 2003a, b). In several species, male and female morpholo- gies seem to reflect arms races. Evolutionary changes in female morphology are mirrored in corresponding changes in male morphology, often resulting in exaggerated male cheliceral traits. In some cases this does not seem to involve any sig- nificant cost to the female, as for example when the only change in females is the position of a pair of pockets on the epigynum (compare Figs 1A and 1B; see also Huber 2000:
Insect Systematics & Evolution – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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