The North American Enchenopa binotata (Say) species complex is a model of sympatric speciation in which phytophagous insects are hypothesized to diverge through host-plant specialization resulting from changes in host plant usage that alter life history timing. A robust phylogeny is needed to evaluate the historical relevance of the prediction that sister taxa differ in critical life-history traits. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony and likelihood criteria of 2305 nucleotides in sequences from mitochondrial COI, COII, tRNA-Leucine, and 12S genes revealed two pairs of sister taxa. Both pairs of sister taxa differ from each other in the timing of egg hatch in the spring that is mediated by differences in host-plant phenology. Host plant mediated timing of egg hatch results in asynchronous life histories among sister taxa facilitating reproductive isolation. Sister taxa of Enchenopa from Celastrus and from Viburnum differ in their diurnal and temporal spans during which mating occurs. Mating of Enchenopa from Liriodendron takes place after that of its sister species on Cercis. These results support the hypothesis that speciation could have been initiated through a shift to a host plant that alters life-history timing.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2