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From evasion aptitude to invasion capacity the contribution of biogeographical, ecological and genetic data for understanding the evolutionary history of species of the subgroup Drosophila melanogaster De laptitude a levasion a la capacite dinvasion lapport des donnees biogeographiques, ecologiques et genetiques a la comprehension de lhistoire evolutive des especes du sous-groupe Drosophila melanogaster



From evasion aptitude to invasion capacity the contribution of biogeographical, ecological and genetic data for understanding the evolutionary history of species of the subgroup Drosophila melanogaster De laptitude a levasion a la capacite dinvasion lapport des donnees biogeographiques, ecologiques et genetiques a la comprehension de lhistoire evolutive des especes du sous-groupe Drosophila melanogaster



Biosystema, 20: 57-71



A crucial question in evolutionary biology is to know whether species keep the same ecological status along their evolutionary history. Taking support from biogeographical, ecological and genetic data of a monophyletic lineage of closely related but ecologically contrasted species, the Drosophila melanogaster subgroup species, we argue here that the ecological status of species in general is not a static condition but a dynamic process. We hypothesize that the ecological status of six of the nine closely related species of fruitflies have more or less dramatically shifted with regard to their initial conditions owing to more or less drastic changes of the environment. The three remaining ones (D. erecta, D. orena, D. santomea) have probably remained unchanged. Both the D. melanogaster complex (D. melanogaster, D. sechellia, D. mauritiana and D. simulans) and the Da yakuba complex (D. santomea, D. yakuba, D. teissieri) include species exhibiting highly diversified biogeographical and ecological patterns. These vary from insular endemic specialists to opportunist species expanding out of their ancestral mainland home range. It appears that the endemic-specialist versus dispersing-opportunist alternative shown by sister species occurs in a reiterated way on various branches of the phylogenetic tree. The two species arising from the most ancient cladogenesis (D. erecta et D. orena) are neither insular endemic nor expanding species but only mainland endemics with restricted distributions centred on the Cameroon volcanic line, which is therefore assumed to be the home range of the overall D. melanogaster species subgroup. We conclude that instead of the capability of invading new areas the critical point in species expansion is primarily their ability of evading from their initial status. It is also suggested that specialization and restricted endemism do not necessarily result in an evolutionary dead end.

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