Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multiple New Species Of Fruit Flies With Overlapping Niches Discovered

Date:
May 21, 2008
Source:
Cornell College
Summary:
Evidence of physically similar species hidden within plant tissues suggest that diversity of neotropical herbivorous insects may not simply be a function of plant architecture, but may also reflect the great age and area of the neotropics.

Students from Ithaca College, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and University of North Carolina, and Cornell College, as well as students from Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico participated in the study.
Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell College

Evidence of physically similar species hidden within plant tissues suggest that diversity of neotropical herbivorous insects may not simply be a function of plant architecture, but may also reflect the great age and area of the neotropics.

In an article published in Science, Cornell College biology professor Marty Condon and coauthors turn current thought on plant-feeding insect diversity on its head. The study used an examination of fruit fly diversity in Latin America to conclude that typical niche diversity tracking can lead to undercounting of species. DNA analysis resulted in the discovery of multiple new species of fruit flies with overlapping niches.

The researchers found a greater specialization in plant feeding than previously thought. While some scientists believed that the diversity of plants would predict the diversity of insects that feed on plants, this study demonstrated that herbivorous insect diversity exceeds those expectations, because these flies also specialize on different plant parts. All but one of the 45 species raised for this study fed on only seeds or flowers, not both. Some ate only male or female flowers.

The study further found a surprising number of "hidden" species, species that were physically hidden inside the plants with little to no evidence of their presence, and hidden in the sense that they were nearly indistinguishable from other species without DNA analysis.

Most of the fly species were associated with only one host plant species. On the other hand, many of the plants hosted a range of species. One plant species supported at least 13 species of the fruit flies.

Location also played a role in the findings. Some of the fly species were geographically widespread. But others could only be found within a limited geographic range, even though the range of the host plant was much more extensive.

The team concluded that host plant and niche diversity plays a significant role in the extraordinary diversity of Blepharoneura flies. But geographical factors--and the passage of time--may play an even greater role.

Marty Condon is biology professor at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa and has studied these organisms for more than 30 years. Three colleagues joined her to study the links between host plants and Blepharoneura tropical fruit flies: Agricultural Research Service (ARS) molecular biologist Sonja Scheffer, ARS support scientist Matthew Lewis and Ithaca College biology professor Susan Swenson.

Students from Cornell College, Ithaca College, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and University of North Carolina, as well as students from Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico, participated in the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell College. "Multiple New Species Of Fruit Flies With Overlapping Niches Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515145412.htm>.
Cornell College. (2008, May 21). Multiple New Species Of Fruit Flies With Overlapping Niches Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515145412.htm
Cornell College. "Multiple New Species Of Fruit Flies With Overlapping Niches Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080515145412.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins