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Poor genetic differentiation but clear cytoform divergence among cryptic species in Simulium damnosum complex (Diptera: Simuliidae)
- OFORKA, LINDA C., ADELEKE, MONSURU A., ANIKWE, JOSEPH C., HARDY, NATE B., MATHIAS, DERRICK K., MAKANJUOLA, WINIFRED A., FADAMIRO, HENRY Y.
- Systematic entomology 2018 v.43 no.1 pp. 123-135
- Onchocerca volvulus, Simulium damnosum, alleles, chromosome inversions, cryptic species, evolution, gene flow, genetic markers, genetic variation, geometry, habitats, inversion polymorphism, models, morphometry, taxonomy, Nigeria
- A complex cryptic species taxonomy has been developed for the flies that vector Onchocerca volvulus Leuckart in Africa. This taxonomy names cytoforms of Simulium damnosum Theobald s.l. based on chromosomal inversion polymorphisms. Researchers have linked variation in cytoforms to variation in geographical distributions and biological traits, but have failed to demonstrate that many of these cytoforms are differentiated genetically or morphologically. This may be explained by recent divergence and incomplete lineage sorting of ancestral polymorphisms. Alternatively, it may be the outcome of ongoing gene flow, with inversions maintaining sets of co‐adapted alleles and selection driving inversion frequency differences across habitats. Here, our goals were to test species delimitations in the S. damnosum complex, and determine if the poor differentiation between these species is better explained by the ancestral polymorphisms or gene‐flow hypotheses. Geometric morphometric analysis and more intensive genetic sampling of populations in Nigeria only reinforced the lack of clear divergence among S. damnosum complex cytoforms. By contrast, the first statistical estimates of evolutionary relationships based on chromosomal inversion polymorphism data revealed clear signs of divergence, which lends support to the ancestral polymorphisms hypothesis. But the latter analyses may be biased by non‐neutral evolution of inversion polymorphisms; more rigorous tests of cytoform‐based species hypothesis will require deeper sampling across populations and neutral genetic markers along with explicit modelling of genetic isolation and migration.