Sympatric Host-Race Formation and Speciation in Rhagoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae): A Tale of Two Species for Charles D.

  • Jeffrey L. Feder
  • Stewart H. Berlocher
  • Susan B. Opp


The question of why there are so many host plant-specific phytophagous insects has long perplexed entomologists, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists alike. In this chapter, we will argue that part of the answer resides in the relationship between host-plant specialization and reproductive isolation. Plants (either different parts, varieties, or species) represent different niches to phytophagous insects. Traits adapting an insect to one species or variety of plant may prevent an insect from efficiently utilizing alternative hosts. Do such host-associated traits also result in reproductive isolation (Walsh 1864; Thorpe 1930; Bush 1966; Futuyma and Keese 1992)? Can isolation evolve as an inadvertent, pleiotropic byproduct of a phytophagous insect adapting to a new host plant (Rice 1987; Berlocher 1989; Rice and Hostert 1993)? If so, then the plethora of host specialists is due, at least in part, to numerous plant niches that have imposed divergent selection pressures on phytophagous insects (Hutchinson 1968; Rosenzweig 1978).


Apple Tree Sibling Species Phytophagous Insect Host Race Host Fruit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey L. Feder
    • 1
  • Stewart H. Berlocher
    • 2
  • Susan B. Opp
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyCalifornia State University at HaywardHaywardUSA

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