African **Dacus** (Diptera: Tephritidae: molecular data and host plant associations do not corroborate morphology based classifications
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. - Orlando, Fla
, p. 531-539
University of Antwerp
The genus Dacus Fabricius includes economically important pest fruit flies distributed in the Afrotropical and Indo-Australian regions. Two recent revisions based on morphological characters proposed new and partially discordant classifications synonymizing/revalidating several subgeneric names and forming species groups. Regardless these efforts, the phylogenetic relationships among Dacus species remained largely unresolved mainly because of the difficulties in assigning homologous character states. Therefore we investigated the phylogeny of African Dacus by sequencing 71 representatives of 32 species at two mitochondrial (COI, 16S) and one nuclear (period) gene fragments. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred through Bayesian and Maximum Parsimony methods and hypotheses about the monophyly of Dacus subgenera were tested by ShimodairaHasegawa tests. The congruence tests and the analyses of the single gene fragments revealed that the nuclear gene supports similar conclusions as the two mitochondrial genes. Levels of intra- and inter-specific differentiation of Dacus species were highly variable and, in some cases, largely overlapping. The analyses of the concatenated dataset resolved two major bootstrap-supported groups as well as a number of well-supported clades and subclades that often comprised representatives of different subgenera. Additionally, specimens of Dacus humeralis from Eastern and Western African localities formed separate clades, suggesting cryptic differentiation within this taxon. The comparisons between the molecular phylogeny and the morphological classification revealed a number of discrepancies and, in the vast majority of cases, the molecular data were not compatible with the monophyly of the currently recognised subgenera. Conversely, the molecular data showed that Apocynaceae feeders are a monophyletic sister group of species feeding on both Cucurbitaceae and Passifloraceae (these latter being also monophyletic). These results show a clear association between the molecular phylogeny of African Dacus and the evolution of host plant choice and provide a basis towards a more congruent taxonomy of this genus.