Host-race evolution is a prime candidate for sympatric speciation because host shifts must take place in the presence of both hosts. However, the geographic context in which the shift takes place may have strong allopatric or peripatric components if the primary host within a localized area is scarce or even goes extinct. Inference of the relative importance of the geographic mode of speciation may be gained from phylogeographic imprints. Here, we investigate the phylogeography of host races of the tephritid fly Tephritis conura from sympatric, parapatric and allopatric populations of Cirsium heterophyllum and Cirsium oleraceum (Asteraceae) in Europe, for addressing the age and direction, and the geographic context of host-race formation. Haplotype networks of the host races differed significantly in molecular diversity and topology. However, host-race haplotypes were nested within the same network, with a central haplotype H1 being the most common haplotype in both host races. C. heterophyllum flies were genetically more diverse and substructured than flies from C. oleraceum, suggesting that the latter is the derived race. The phylogeographic imprint indicates either that C. heterophyllum flies colonized C. oleraceum during range expansion or that heterophyllum flies went extinct in an area where oleraceum flies persisted (followed by re-immigration). These imprints are in concordance with peripatric diversification, probably in the European Alps and related to the last ice age, where the host-race diversification was largely completed before the postglacial range expansion on C. oleraceum to current areas of sympatry and parapatry with C. heterophyllum.
The present study investigates morphological differentiation among host races of the fruit fly Tephritis conura Loew (Diptera: Tephritidae) for two fitness‐related traits and whether these traits are host induced or genetically determined. Flies were analyzed from independent sympatric regions, and from one syntopic site where parental host plants [Cirsium heterophyllum (L.) Hill. and Cirsium oleraceum (L.) Scop. (Cardueae)] and hybrid plants (C. heterophyllum×C. oleraceum) co‐occur. As both host races may oviposit on hybrid plants and hybrid plants provide an identical environment for larvae of both host races, flies emerging from C. heterophyllum×C. oleraceum hybrids were used to assess whether host‐race morphological differences are genetically determined or due to phenotypic plasticity. No significant size (wing length) differences were found among host races, whereas flies emerging from C. heterophyllum had on average 8.4% longer ovipositors than flies emerging from C. oleraceum. The mean size‐corrected ovipositor length (i.e., the ratio ovipositor/wing length) was 10.3% longer. These proportions were repeated among host races emerging from hybrid plants. Although flies of the C. heterophyllum host race from hybrid plants were smaller than on parental host plants, the ratio ovipositor/wing length was constant. Hybrid flies (which emerged only on hybrid plants) were intermediate in relative and absolute ovipositor length. Thus, ovipositor‐length differences among T. conura host races most likely have a genetic basis. This suggests that host‐related differences in ovipositor length reflect adaptations to the respective host‐plant species, most likely to the host's flower‐head size, whereas both host races experience similar selection regimes on body size.
We address the controversy over the processes causing divergence during speciation. Host races of the fruit fly Tephritis conura attack the thistles Cirsium oleraceum and Cirsium heterophyllum. By studying the genetic divergence of T. conura in areas where host plants are sympatric, parapatric and allopatric, we assessed the contribution of geography in driving host-race divergence. We also evaluated the relative importance of genetic drift and selection in the diversification process, by analysis of the geographic distribution of genetic variation. Host races were significantly diverged at five out of 13 polymorphic allozyme loci. Variance at two loci, Hex and Pep D, was almost exclusively attributable to host-plant affiliation in all geographic settings. However, Hex was significantly more differentiated between host races in sympatry/parapatry than in allopatry. This result might be explained by selection against hybridisation or against incorrect host choice in contact areas. Linkage disequilibrium tests suggest the latter: gene flow in contact areas may occur from males of the host-race C. heterophyllum to females of the host-race C. oleraceum, whereas incorrect oviposition events were never observed. The distinctive patterns of genetic differentiation at the two highly differentiated loci implicate the action of selection (acting directly or on linked loci) rather than genetic drift. Despite their restricted interactions in sympatry, we conclude that host races are stable and that the major diversification process took place before species arrived in today's geographical settings.
The fruit fly Tephritis bardanae infests flower heads of two burdock hosts, Arctium tomentosum and A. minus. Observations suggest host‐associated mating and behavioural differences at oviposition indicating host‐race status. Previously, flies from each host plant were found to differ slightly in allozyme allele frequencies, but these differences could as well be explained by geographical separation of host plants. In the present study, we explicitly test whether genetic and morphological variance among T. bardanae are explained best by host‐plant association or by geographical location, and if this pattern is stable over a 10‐year period. Populations of A. tomentosum flies differed significantly from those of A. minus flies in (i) allozyme allele frequencies at the loci Pep‐A and Pgd, (ii) mtDNA haplotype frequencies and (iii) wing size. In contrast, geographical location had no significant influence on the variance estimates. While it remains uncertain whether morphometric differentiation reflects genotypic variability or phenotypic plasticity, allozyme and mtDNA differentiation is genetically determined. This provides strong evidence for host‐race formation in T. bardanae. However, the levels of differentiation are relatively low indicating that the system is in an early stage of divergence. This might be due to a lack of time (i.e. the host shift occurred recently) or due to relatively high gene flow preventing much differentiation at loci not experiencing selection.
The thistle-infesting fruit fly Tephritis conura Loew (Diptera: Tephritidae) forms host races on the melancholy thistle, Cirsium hetewphyllum (L.) Hill (Asterales: Asteraceae) and the cabbage thistle, Cirsium olemceum (L.). Scop. Previous research indicates that the host shift occurred from C. hetewphyllum to C. oleraceum. In this paper we address whether the host shift involved physiological adaptations by studying oviposition acceptance and survival of the two host races on the derived host C. oleraceum. Performance differed significantly between host races. T. conura originating from C. oleraceum produced adults in 75% of all egg-laying trials in contrast to only 6.6% in T. conura originating from C. hetewphyllum. Population fitness components measured as a function of life-stage was linear decreasing for T. conura on C. oleraceum but stepwise for T. conura on C. heterophyllum. Low performance of T. conura on C. hetewphyllum was determined by low plant acceptance and high mortality during the larval stage, whereas hatching (at least one larva per batch) and pupae survival were not affected.
The addition of a novel host plant to a phytophagous insect's diet may result in subsequent host-plant specialisation, and is believed to be a key cause for speciation in this trophic group. In northern Britain, the tephritid fly Tephritis conura has experienced a unique host-plant expansion, from the melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum to the marsh thistle C. palustre. Here, we examine whether the incorporation of C. palustre in the repertoire of British T. conura flies has caused genetic divergence between populations infesting the old host and the novel host, and how British populations differ from populations infesting C. heterophyllum in continental Europe where C. palustre is not infested. No evidence for restricted gene flow among British C. palustre and C. heterophyllum flies was found. Significant differentiation between British and continental T. conura was found at only one allozyme locus, hexokinase, and caused by a new allele, Hex_95. Hexokinase is related to host-race formation in continental European flies infesting C. heterophyllum and C. oleraceum, and might be linked to loci determining host choice. Based on morphological and phenological data from previous studies, we suggest that T. conura in Britain has adapted to the novel host but that host-race formation is impeded by similar plant phenologies.
Whether or not a host plant is incorporated into a phytophagous insect's diet depends on both the insect's ability to colonize the novel host and the host plant's susceptibility to the insect. The latter, again, will be influenced by the genetic structure of the host plant. Cirsium palustre (marsh thistle) is heavily infested by the tephritid fly Tephritis conura in northern Britain, whereas infestation is not only absent in southern England, but also absent on the European continent where T. conura is common on other Cirsium. To understand why regional infestation patterns evolve, we studied how genetic structure and phylogeographic ancestry of C. palustre are related to the probability of infestation in Britain. The probability of infestation in Britain was related neither to phylogeographic lineage (two lineages were observed in Europe), nor to introgressive hybridization with the original host of T. conura, C. heterophyllum. However, infested British C. palustre were strongly genetically deprived. British C. palustre showed continuous loss of genetic variability towards the northern range edge. The loss was explained best by genetic drift during geographic range expansion, rather than by genetic drift in isolated patches or mating system change from predominately outcrossing to selfing. The phylogeographic pattern of C. palustre strongly suggests Scotland as the geographic origin of a recent host-plant expansion of T. conura.
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