Reproductive Isolation in a Neotropical Insect: Behavior and Microbiology

  • Lee Ehrman
  • Norman L. Somerson
  • Frederick J. Gottlieb


The Drosophila paulistorum Dobzhansky & Pavan complex offers an excellent opportunity for the study of the relationship between an insect host and its microbial symbiont. Electron microscopy reveals that all members of this insect group harbor endosymbionts which, by all appearances, are cell-wall deficient organisms (CWD). While it is not known if the CWDs of D. paulistorum are essential to their hosts, it is clear that a stable, benign relationship exists between the host and its own CWD. However, our evidence indicates that transfer of an endosymbiont from one semispecies of D. paulistorum to another semispecies results in male sterility. The specificity exhibited by the endosymbionts increases reproductive isolation between semispecies and may have contributed to the evolutionary and taxonomic complexity of D. paulistorum as a widespread superspecies.


Sexual Preference Reproductive Isolation Hybrid Sterility Backcross Progeny Hybrid Male 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Ehrman
    • 1
  • Norman L. Somerson
    • 2
  • Frederick J. Gottlieb
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Natural SciencesState University of New YorkPurchaseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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