I'm very excited to say that my newest paper was published online a few weeks ago in Proceedings B, looking at sexual conflict in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. This is the first paper from my work at UWA, and is the result of a collaboration with several researchers at UWA (Emile van Lieshout, Kathryn McNamara & Leigh Simmons) as well as Göran Arnqvist at Uppsala University. The project benefitted especially from the use of C. maculatus lines that Göran has been maintaining at Uppsala for many years.
In the paper we show that there has been correlated evolution between the size of the male penis spines and three defensive female adaptations (the thickness of the female reproductive tract lining, and two measures of female immune activity), across 13 C. maculatus population that have been isolated in the lab for over 100 generations. Importantly, we also show that the amount of copulatory wounding females receive during mating is related to the relative thickness of the female reproductive tract in relation to male spine length (as shown in the image below). This is strong evidence that males and females of this species are locked in an evolutionary arms race driven by sexual conflict.
Follow the link here to read the paper, or go to the publications page for the pdf.