Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2011 Feb 7.Griffiths KE, Trueman JW, Brown GR, Peakall R.
Sexually deceptive Chiloglottis orchids lure their male thynnine wasp pollinators to the flower by emitting semiochemicals that mimic the specific sex pheromone of the wasp. Sexual deception is possible because chemical rather than visual cues play the key role in wasp mate search, suggesting that cryptic wasp species may be frequent. We investigated this prospect among Neozeleboria wasp pollinators of Chiloglottis orchids, drawing on evidence from molecular phylogenetic analysis at three genes (CO1, rhodopsin and wingless), population genetic and statistical parsimony analysis at CO1, orchid associations and their semiochemicals, and geographic ranges. We found a compelling relationship between genetically defined wasp groups, orchid associations, semiochemicals and geographic range, despite a frequent lack of detectable morphological differences. Our findings reveal multiple cryptic species among orchid pollinators and indicate that chemical changes are important for wasp reproductive isolation and speciation. The diversity of Neozeleboria may have enabled, rather than constrained, pollinator-driven speciation in these orchids.
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