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Molecular evidence using enzyme and RAPD markers for sympatric evolution in British species of Tetramesa (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae)

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Some species of the insect genus Tetramesa (Hymenoptera: Eurytomidae), which has a world-wide distribution, are morphologically very similar, both in the adult and larval stages. In the British Isles, there are 37 recorded species, all of which feed on grasses as larvae and are largely host specific. Some form galls on their hosts; others do not. We used a range of enzyme and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers to investigate a complex of five cryptic species occurring sympatrically in the UK, collected from seven sites in mainland England and Wales: T. calamagrostidis (von Schlechtendal), T. longicornis (Walker) and T. petiolata (Walker) infesting different grass hosts, and T. hyalipennis (Walker) s.l. comprising two-host adapted forms (labelled 1 and 2) reared from the grasses Elymus repens and E. farctus, respectively. Nine soluble enzyme systems (some known to be polymorphic in other insects) and 37 RAPD primers allowed taxonomic separation of the species. However, whilst RAPD markers were able to discriminate between the two host-adapted forms of T. hyalipennis, enzyme markers (producing phenotypic profiles in the absence of genetic crosses) could not. Upon calculating genetic distances for the RAPD data from which a cladogram of Euclidean distances (relatedness) was produced along with multivariate analysis of the data, T. longicornis was shown to be the most ‘basal’ species, and most related to T. hyalipennis s.l.; T. calamagrostidis and T. petiolata were found to be more distantly related to these species but most closely related to each other. The two forms of T. hyalipennis s.l. appear to be the most closely related of any of the species investigated, probably diverging the most recently. From this data, and since the populations examined were all sympatric without obvious physical barriers to reproduction, it can be concluded that some degree of sympatric evolution has occurred, most obviously in the case of the host-adapted forms of T. hyalipennis. If so, this complex of species could be another rare example of sympatric speciation in insects. Further research using more sophisticated molecular markers such as microsatellites, amplified fragment length polymorphic markers (AFLPs) and DNA sequencing (e.g. of mtDNA and ribosomal DNA regions), in conjunction with behavioural studies, are required to further elucidate this interesting species group. © 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 83, 509–525.
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Keywords: RAPDs; cladogram; enzymes; jointworms; multivariate analysis; sympatric speciation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, PO Box 915, Cardiff CF10 3XF, UK 2: Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Division, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2JQ, UK 3: King Khalid University, College of Science, Biology Department, PO Box 9004, Abha, Saudi Arabia 4: CEPM, IRD, 911 Avenue Agropolis BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier Cedex5, France 5: King Saud University, College of Science Bureidah, Al-Qassim, Saudi Arabia

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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