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Phylogenetic relationships of antlered flies, Phytalmia Gerstaecker (Diptera: Tephritidae): the evolution of antler shape and mating behaviour

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The genus Phytalmia (antlered flies, Diptera: Tephritidae) contains remarkable flies with elaborate male head projections known as antlers. The antlers are used in antagonistic intraspecific interactions between males competing to occupy oviposition sites. Phylogenetic relationships between the seven known species of Phytalmia were chosen to be investigated in order to determine the current monophyly of the genus and to assess the evolution of secondary sexual characters and associated behaviours, especially male antlers, fore-femoral, spines and stilting. A phylogenetic analysis of Phytalmia was conducted using two closely related species from the same tribe (Phytalmiini): Sessilina nigrilinea (Walker) and Diplochorda minor Malloch, and one species from a different tribe (Dacini): the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) as outgroups. A total of 1259 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA (COII and 16S) and 35 morphological characters were included in the analysis, using parsimony and maximum likelihood inference methods. A phylogenetic tree generated from combined data was used to infer the evolution of antler shapes and associated behaviours in the genus. The results of this paper support the monophyly of Phytalmia, with P. cervicornis Gerstaecker the sister group of the remaining species. The phylogeny suggests a general decrease in antler complexity over evolutionary time; however, the behavioural sequence of male flies becomes more complex over time, with steps (e.g. stilting) being added to the repertoire during antagonistic encounters. Finally, there are strong correlations between functionally constrained morphological and behavioural characters, therefore allowing the authors to make predications for species whose behaviours are unknown based on morphological attributes and the authors' hypothesised evolution of Phytalmia.
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Keywords: behaviour; evolution; fruit fly; mitochondrial DNA; secondary sexual character

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Natural Resource Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia 2: CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia 3: Public Health Food Chemistry, Queensland Health Scientific Services, Coopers Plains, Queensland 4127, Australia 4: Department of Biology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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