[MARMAM] New publication: Asymmetric and spiraled genitalia coevolve with unique lateralized mating behavior.

Dara Orbach dnorbach at gmail.com
Mon Feb 24 08:59:30 PST 2020

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce that the following
article has been published :

Orbach, D.N., Brennan, P.L.R., Hedrick, B.P., Keener, W., Webber, M., Mesnick,
S.L. 2020. Asymmetric and spiraled genitalia coevolve with unique
lateralized mating behavior. *Scientific Reports 10:*3257.

Asymmetric genitalia and lateralized mating behaviors occur in several
taxa, yet whether asymmetric morphology in one sex correlates or coevolves
with lateralized mating behavior in the other sex remains largely
unexplored. While lateralized mating behaviors are taxonomically
widespread, among mammals they are only known in the harbor porpoise (*Phocoena
phocoena)*. Males attempt copulation by approaching a female exclusively on
her left side. To understand if this unusual lateralized behavior
may have coevolved with genital morphology, we quantified the shape of
female and male harbor porpoise reproductive tracts using 2D geometric
morphometrics and 3D models of the vaginal lumen and inflated distal penis.
We found that the vaginas varied individually in shape and that the
vaginas demonstrated both significant directional and fluctuating
asymmetry. This asymmetry resulted from complex 3D spirals and vaginal
folds with deep recesses, which may curtail the depth or direction
of penile penetration and/or semen movement. The asymmetric shapes of the
vaginal lumen and penis tip
were both left-canted with similar angular bends that mirrored one another
and correspond with the left lateral mating approach. We suggest that the
reproductive anatomy of both sexes and their lateral mating behavior

The article is open access online (free access):

Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions

Dara Orbach, PhD

Department of Life Sciences,
Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi
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