As part of an ongoing study of the evolution of Blepharoneura, a neotropical genus of highly host-specific tephritid fruit flies, we are discovering extraordinary levels of diversity. Here we report a new quantitative method for distinguishing among several extremely morphologically similar species that infest reproductive parts of a single host (Gurania spinulosa, Cucurbitaceae) in eastern Ecuador. A morphometric analysis of thirteen wing pattern characters afforded an overall classification rate of 92.5%, or with cross-validation, we obtain a more conservative estimate of 87.3%.
Jessica Johnson, ’07 Maryland Heights, MO
Sara Marsteller, ’07 Alliance, NE
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Spanish
Sponsor: Marty Condon