Evolution of the mojavensis cluster of cactophilic Drosophila with descriptions of two new species

J Hered. Jan-Feb 1990;81(1):30-42. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a110922.


The mojavensis cluster of the repleta species group of Drosophila (Drosophilidae: Diptera) consists of three species. One is newly described as D. navojoa. A second species, described here as D. arizonae, replaces D. arizonensis, which has become a junior subjective synonym for D. mojavensis, the third species in the cluster. A phylogeny of the three species is presented, based on chromosomal inversions, morphology, and the ability to produce hybrids. Breakage points are assigned for all inversions, and male genitalia are figured; 186 crosses were made from 225 possible combinations among 15 geographic strains from the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. It is confirmed that D. mojavensis and D. arizonae are very closely related and shown that D. navojoa is more distantly related in regard to all criteria. This relationship is supported by the geographical positions of the ancestral gene sequences in each species, which show a sequential northwest movement (D. navojoa----D. arizonae----D. mojavensis) from southern Mexico to southern California and northern Arizona. The relationship is also supported by the fact that D. navojoa breeds in Opuntia cactus, an ancestral behavior, whereas the other two species breed chiefly in Stenocereus cacti, a derived behavior. The possible role of this host plant shift in speciation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Inversion
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila / classification
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Ecology
  • Female
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Male
  • Metaphase
  • Phylogeny
  • Salivary Glands / ultrastructure