Masters Thesis

Mitochondrial DNA variation among populations of Megaselia sulphurizona Borgmeier (Diptera: Phoridae): evidence for a cryptic species complex

With over 1,300 known species, the genus Megaselia Rondani is the largest phorid genus, largely the result of high cryptic diversity and a past tendency for researchers to lump species into the genus that defied convenient classification. For many of these species, little information is available beyond one or two morphological characters. The first molecular study of such a species, Megaselia sulphurizona Borgmeier, is presented here. New sequence data from two mitochondrial loci (cytochrome oxidase, COI; NADH 1 dehydrogenase, ND1) for a total of 792 bp were obtained from 22 M. sulphurizona specimens collected from four populations in California, plus 12 other phorid taxa using standard DNA extraction and PCR techniques. Neighbor-joining, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony analyses revealed M. sulphurizona to be a cryptic species complex, constituting three distinct species in the Riverside, Monrovia, and Bakersfield/Tehachapi areas. These findings suggest greater cryptic diversity within M. sulphurizona, and have broader implications for phorid biodiversity.

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