Thursday, February 3, 2011

All your fly base are belong to us

Just to clarify, there are over 1,000 species of endemic Drosophila (fruit flies) on the Hawaiian Islands. These are all thought to have descended from a single introduction 26 million years ago.

Over one hundred of these Drosophila species are members of the 'picture wing group'. The figure I showed in class just depicts the hypothesized dispersal events necessary to create the 112 members of the picture wing group. Although the picture wing species are quite distinct from each other in morphology, pigmentation, and behavior it is now known that this explosive adaptive radiation occurred with relatively little change in DNA sequence. These factors make the Hawaiian Drosophila an important model system for analysis of evolutionary processes at the species level.

Learn more at FlyBase - A Database of Wing Diversity in the Hawaiian Drosophila

No comments: