Cryptic female exaggeration
Males of the Venezuelan pholcid spider Kaliana yuruani Huber have unique genitalia, with the procursi about six times as long as usual in the family. The present paper describes the previously unknown female, searching for a morphological correlate in the female genitalia to the male’s exaggeration. Reconstruction of histological serial sections reveals an internal female complexity that is unequalled in pholcid spiders. An intricate system of ducts and folds is arranged in an asymmetric way, making this the third known case of genital asymmetry in spiders. The term ‘cryptic female exaggeration’ is used in analogy to cryptic female choice, pointing to the fact that from outside, the female genitalia do not appear unusual. I propose that cryptic female exaggeration may be relatively common in copulatory structures if male exaggerations need to be evaluated according to the female choice by mechanical fit model. Finally, the evolution of genital asymmetry in spiders is contrasted with that in insects.