Genomic regions underlying the species-specific mating songs of green lacewings

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Taylor, K.L., Wade, E.J., Wells, M.M. & Henry, C.S. (2023) Genomic regions underlying the species-specific mating songs of green lacewings. Insect Molecular Biology, 32(2), 79–85.


Rapid species radiations provide insight into the process of speciation and diversification. The radiation of Chrysoperla carnea-group lacewings seems to be driven, at least in part, by their species–specific pre-mating vibrational duets. We associated genetic markers from across the genome with courtship song period in the offspring of a laboratory cross between Chrysoperla plorabunda and Chrysoperla adamsi, two species primarily differentiated by their mating songs. Two genomic regions were strongly associated with the song period phenotype. Large regions of chromosomes one and two were associated with song phenotype, as fewer recombination events occurred on these chromosomes relative to the other autosomes. Candidate genes were identified by functional annotation of proteins from the C. carnea reference genome. The majority of genes that are associated with vibrational courtship signals in other insects were found within QTL for lacewing song phenotype. Together these findings suggest that decreased recombination may be acting to keep together loci important to reproductive isolation between these species. Using wild-caught individuals from both species, we identified signals of genomic divergence across the genome. We identified several candidate genes both in song-associated regions and near divergence outliers including nonA, fruitless, paralytic, period, and doublesex. Together these findings bring us one step closer to identifying the genomic basis of a mating song trait critical to the maintenance of species boundaries in green lacewings.