The genus Drosophila is characterized by a large number of sibling species showing evolutionary significance
Mayr (1942) defined sibling species as sympatric forms which are morphologically very similar or indistinguishable, but which possess specific biological characteristics and are reproductively isolated. Another term, cryptic species has also been used for such species. However, this concept changed later. Sibling species are as similar as twins. This category does not necessarily include phylogenetic siblings as members of a superspecies. Since the term sibling species was defined by Mayr, a large number of cases of sibling species pairs/groups have been reported and thus they are widespread in the animal kingdom.However, they seem to be more common in some groups such as insects. In insects, they have been reported in diptera, lepidoptera, coleoptera, orthoptera, hymenoptera and others. Sibling species are widespread among the dipteran insects and as such are well studied because some species are important medically (mosquitoes), genetically (Drosophila) and cytologically(Sciara and Chironomus). The well-studied classical pairs of sibling species in Drosophila are: D. pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, and D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Subsequently, a number of sibling species have been added to these pairs and a large number of other sibling species pairs/groups in different species groups of the genus Drosophila have been reported in literature. The present review briefly summarizes the cases of sibling species pairs/groups in the genus Drosophila with their evolutionary significance.
Volume 100, 2021
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