Thursday, July 28, 2005

We Don't Need No Speciation

A letter published in this week's issue of the journal Nature describes the apparent speciation of a fly via the invasive shrub honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.). The Lonicera Fly is a hybrid of Rhagoletis mendax and R. zephyria but can maintain its own populations via sexual reproduction. Because the parent species are both native to the U.S. and have native plants to which they are host-specific, the hybrid's shift to shrub honeysuckles is a relatively recent one (on an evolutionary scale). Those of you who would like more details should check out lead author Dietmar Schwarz's Ph.D. thesis (.pdf) or if you want something a little less hardcore, see this National Geographic News article or Dietmar's web page.

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