Morphological integration and modularity in Diabrotica virgifera virgifera leconte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) hind wings.
The morphological integration of the hind wings of the western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte was investigated to get a better insight of the undergone by this invasive species. Geometric morphometric methods were used to test two modularity hypotheses associated with the wing development and function (hypothesis H1: anterior/posterior or H2: distal/proximal wing parts). Both hypotheses were rejected and the results showed the integrated behavior of the hind wings of D. v. virgifera. The hypothesized modules do not represent separate units of variation, so in a similar fashion as exhibited by the model species Drosophila melanogaster, the hind wings of D. v. virgifera act as a single functional unit. The moderate covariation strength found between anterior and posterior and distal and proximal parts of the hind wing of D. v. virgifera confirms its integrated behavior. We conclude that the wing shape shows internal integration, which could enable flexibility and thus enhance flight maneuverability. This study contributes to the understanding of morphological integration and modularity on a non-model organism. Additionally, these findings lay the groundwork for future flight performance and biogeographical studies on how wing shape and size vary across the endemic and expanded/invaded range in the USA and Europe infested with D. v. virgifera.