Functional morphology of the copulatory organs of a reed beetle and a shining leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Donaciinae, Criocerinae) using X-ray micro-computed tomography.
For more than 100 years it has been known that the sclerotised median lobe of beetles harbours a membranous structure (the "internal sac" or "endophallus") which is everted during copula inside the female genital tract. In order to explore the functional role of this structure and those associated with it, we cryofixed copulating pairs of Donacia semicuprea and Lilioceris lilii and studied the relative position of the elements of the copulatory apparatus of males and females by micro-computer-tomography. We found that the everted endophallus fills the lumen of the bursa copulatrix completely. Our data suggest that in Lilioceris lilii the tip of the sclerotised distal part of the ejaculatory duct, the flagellum, is positioned exactly over the opening of the spermathecal duct inside the bursa copulatrix. The mouth of the bursa copulatrix in Donacia semicuprea is armed with a strong muscle ring, and the whole wall of the bursa is covered externally with a layer of muscle fibres. These morphological differences correspond with differences in mating behaviour: In reed beetles (Donaciinae), females seemingly can control mating to a higher degree than in lily beetles (Lilioceris spp.).