Submitted to: Insect Systematics & Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2005
Publication Date: 8/15/2005
Citation: Abreu, A.G., Prado, P.I., Norrbom, A.L., Solferini, V.N. 2005. Genetic and morphological diagnosis and description of two cryptic species of flower head Tephritidae (Diptera). Insect Systematics & Evolution. 36:361-370.
Interpretive Summary: Fruit flies include some of the world's most important pests of fruit and vegetable crops. Other species are very important components of their ecosystems and have considerable effects on populations of their host plants. The fruit fly species breeding in sunflowers and relatives in southern Brazil are a major focus of a large ecological study of insects that feed inside plants. Two new species that have been discovered are described in this paper so that information about their distributions and host relationships can be communicated. The results of this paper will be important to ecologists, insect identifiers, taxonomists and conservationists.
Technical Abstract: Tomoplagia Coquillett is a neotropical genus of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) that belongs to the subfamily Tephritinae, whose larvae feed solely on the flower heads and vegetative parts of Asteraceae. Tomoplagia is primarily associated with the subtribe Vernoniinae, but the larvae of a few species breed in plants of the subtribe Lychnophorinae, particularly in the genera Eremanthus Less. and Lychnophora Mart. Adults of a new species of Tomoplagia associated with this subtribe showed body color variation (light and dark morphotypes) that was initially considered to be intraspecific polymorphism. After further sampling confirmed the color difference, we investigated this hypothesis. Allozyme electrophoresis was used to determine whether the dark and light morphotypes were cryptic species. Four loci clearly differentiated the light and dark morphs. The genetic identities and diversity (He) supported the hypothesis of cryptic species. A detailed morphological analysis also revealed consistent differences in the male and female terminalia of the two morphs. Based on these findings, we describe the dark morphotype as Tomoplagia reticulata sp. nov., and the light one as T. pallens sp. nov.