Two sibling species of tephritid fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni and B. neohumeralis, occur sympatrically throughout the range of B. neohumeralis in Australia. Isolation between the two species appears to be maintained by a difference in mating time: B. tryoni mates at dusk, whereas B. neohumeralis mates during the middle of the day. A morphological difference in humeral callus color also distinguishes the two species. Despite clear phenotypic evidence that B. tryoni and B. neohumeralis are distinct species, genetic differentiation as measured by four markers—nuclear DNA sequences from the white gene and the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS2), and mitochondrial DNA sequences from the cytochrome b (cytb) and cytochrome oxidase subunit II (COII) genes—is very small. Minor fixed differences occur in the ITS2 sequence, however, in all other cases the two species exhibit a high level of shared polymorphic variation. The close genetic similarity suggests either that speciation has occurred very rapidly and recently in the absence of any mitochondrial DNA sorting or that the sharing of polymorphisms is due to hybridization or introgression. A third species within the tryoni complex, B. aquilonis, is geographically isolated. Bactrocera aquilonis is also genetically very similar, but in this case there is clear differentiation for the mitochondrial loci. The three species form a group of considerable interest for investigation of speciation mechanisms.
Corresponding Editor: L. Stevens