The first mitochondrial genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997 (Diptera: Sciomyzoidea: Sepsidae), with mitochondrial genome phylogeny of cyclorrhapha.
ABSTRACT: Sepsid flies (Diptera: Sepsidae) are important model insects for sexual selection research. In order to develop mitochondrial (mt) genome data for this significant group, we sequenced the first complete mt genome of the sepsid fly Nemopoda mamaevi Ozerov, 1997. The circular 15,878 bp mt genome is typical of Diptera, containing all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian animals. We discovered inaccurate annotations of fly mt genomes previously deposited on GenBank and thus re-annotated all published mt genomes of Cyclorrhapha. These re-annotations were based on comparative analysis of homologous genes, and provide a statistical analysis of start and stop codon positions. We further detected two 18 bp of conserved intergenic sequences from tRNAGlu-tRNAPhe and ND1-tRNASer(UCN) across Cyclorrhapha, which are the mtTERM binding site motifs. Additionally, we compared automated annotation software MITOS with hand annotation method. Phylogenetic trees based on the mt genome data from Cyclorrhapha were inferred by Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, strongly supported a close relationship between Sepsidae and the Tephritoidea.
Project description:A recent collecting trip to Vietnam yielded three new species and two new records of Sepsidae (Diptera) for the country. Here we describe two new species in the species-poor genus Perochaeta (Perochaeta cuirassasp. n. andPerochaeta lobosp. n.) and one to the largest sepsid genus Sepsis (Sepsis spurasp. n.) which is also found in Sumatra and Sulawesi. Two additional Sepsis species are new records for Vietnam (Sepsis sepsi Ozerov, 2003; Sepsis monostigma Thompson, 1869). We conclude with a discussion of the distribution of Perochaeta and the three Sepsis species.
Project description:Many species descriptions, especially older ones, consist mostly of text and have few illustrations. Only the most conspicuous morphological features needed for species diagnosis and delimitation at the time of description are illustrated. Such descriptions can quickly become inadequate when new species or characters are discovered. We propose that descriptions should become more data-rich by presenting a large amount of images and illustrations to cover as much morphology as possible; these descriptions are more likely to remain adequate over time because their large amounts of visual data could capture character systems that may become important in the future. Such an approach can now be quickly and easily achieved given that high-quality digital photography is readily available. Here, we re-describe the sepsid fly Perochaeta orientalis (de Meijere 1913) (Diptera, Sepsidae) which has suffered from inadequate descriptions in the past, and use photomicrography, scanning electron microscopy and videography to document its external morphology and mating behaviour. All images and videos are embedded within the electronic publication. We discuss briefly benefits and problems with our approach.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The males of some sepsid species (Sepsidae: Diptera) have abdominal appendages that are remarkable in several ways. They are sexually dimorphic, have a complex evolutionary history of gain and loss, and can be jointed and thus highly mobile. The sternite brushes are used extensively in complex courtship behaviors that differ considerably between species and during mating. The abdominal appendages have a novel developmental pathway developing from histoblast nests rather than imaginal discs. RESULTS:We focus on the evolution of cell number, nest area, and segment length in both sexes to understand how this tissue relates to the formation of novel abdominal appendages. We map histoblast nest size of wandering-phase larvae of 17 species across 10 genera to a phylogenetic tree of Sepsidae and demonstrate that abdominal appendages require significant increases of histoblast nest size and cell number in most species while one species produces small appendages even without such modifications. In species with particularly large appendages, not only the nests on the fourth, but nests in neighboring segments are enlarged (Themira biloba, Themira putris). The loss of abdominal appendages corresponds to the loss of an enlarged fourth histoblast nest, although one species showed an exception to this pattern. One species that constitutes an independent origin of abdominal appendages (Perochaeta dikowi) uses an unusual developmental mechanism in that the histoblast nest sizes are not sexually dimorphic. CONCLUSIONS:The surprisingly high diversity in histoblast size and degree of sexual dimorphism suggests that the developmental mechanism used for abdominal appendage formation in sepsids is highly adaptable. The presence of appendages usually correlate with increased histoblast cell number and in most cases appendage loss results in a return to ancestral histoblast morphology. However, we also identify several exceptions that indicate the abdominal appendages have a malleable developmental origin that is responsive to selection.
Project description:Specimens of the enigmatic, monotypic European genus Zuskamira Pont, 1987 (Sepsidae) were initially collected only from the lower central Swedish provinces of Darlana, Uppland and Västmanland. However, the same species was subsequently found much more south in Lower-Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein although Germany is overall well sampled for sepsid flies. Here we report a further (longitudinal) range expansion based on new localities in Southern Finland. New localities for Finland and Sweden are here added and we discuss briefly the habitat requirements of the species.
Project description:New species from well-studied taxa such as Sepsidae (Diptera) are rarely described from localities that have been extensively explored and one may think that New York City belongs to this category. Yet, a new species of Themira (Diptera: Sepsidae) was recently discovered which is currently only known to reside in two of New York City's largest urban parks. Finding a new species of Themira in these parks was all the more surprising because the genus was revised in 1998 and is not particularly species-rich (13 species). Its status is confirmed as a new species based on morphology, DNA sequences, and reproductive isolation tests with a closely related species, and is described as Themira lohmanus Ang, sp. n. The species breeds on waterfowl dung and it is hypothesized that this makes the species rare in natural environments. However, it thrives in urban parks where the public feeds ducks and geese. The mating behavior of Themira lohmanus was recorded and is similar to the behavior of its closest relative T. biloba.
Project description:The superfamily Lauxanioidea is a significant dipteran clade including over 2500 known species in three families: Lauxaniidae, Celyphidae and Chamaemyiidae. We sequenced the first five (three complete and two partial) lauxanioid mitochondrial (mt) genomes, and used them to reconstruct the phylogeny of this group. The lauxanioid mt genomes are typical of the Diptera, containing all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian animals. A total of three conserved intergenic sequences have been reported across the Cyclorrhapha. The inferred secondary structure of 22 tRNAs suggested five substitution patterns among the Cyclorrhapha. The control region in the Lauxanioidea has apparently evolved very fast, but four conserved structural elements were detected in all three complete mt genome sequences. Phylogenetic relationships based on the mt genome data were inferred by Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods. The traditional relationships between families within the Lauxanioidea, (Chamaemyiidae + (Lauxaniidae + Celyphidae)), were corroborated; however, the higher-level relationships between cyclorrhaphan superfamilies are mostly poorly supported.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Sepsidae family of flies is a model for investigating how sexual selection shapes courtship and sexual dimorphism in a comparative framework. However, like many non-model systems, there are few molecular resources available. Large-scale sequencing and assembly have not been performed in any sepsid, and the lack of a closely related genome makes investigation of gene expression challenging. Our goal was to develop an automated pipeline for de novo transcriptome assembly, and to use that pipeline to assemble and analyze the transcriptome of the sepsid Themira biloba. RESULTS: Our bioinformatics pipeline uses cloud computing services to assemble and analyze the transcriptome with off-site data management, processing, and backup. It uses a multiple k-mer length approach combined with a second meta-assembly to extend transcripts and recover more bases of transcript sequences than standard single k-mer assembly. We used 454 sequencing to generate 1.48 million reads from cDNA generated from embryo, larva, and pupae of T. biloba and assembled a transcriptome consisting of 24,495 contigs. Annotation identified 16,705 transcripts, including those involved in embryogenesis and limb patterning. We assembled transcriptomes from an additional three non-model organisms to demonstrate that our pipeline assembled a higher-quality transcriptome than single k-mer approaches across multiple species. CONCLUSIONS: The pipeline we have developed for assembly and analysis increases contig length, recovers unique transcripts, and assembles more base pairs than other methods through the use of a meta-assembly. The T. biloba transcriptome is a critical resource for performing large-scale RNA-Seq investigations of gene expression patterns, and is the first transcriptome sequenced in this Dipteran family.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The species-specificity of male genitalia has been well documented in many insect groups and sexual selection has been proposed as the evolutionary force driving the often rapid, morphological divergence. The internal female genitalia, in sharp contrast, remain poorly studied. Here, we present the first comparative study of the internal reproductive system of Sepsidae. We test the species-specificity of the female genitalia by comparing recently diverged sister taxa. We also compare the rate of change in female morphological characters with the rate of fast-evolving, molecular and behavioral characters.<h4>Results</h4>We describe the ectodermal parts of the female reproductive tract for 41 species representing 21 of the 37 described genera and define 19 morphological characters with discontinuous variation found in eight structures that are part of the reproductive tract. Using a well-resolved molecular phylogeny based on 10 genes, we reconstruct the evolution of these characters across the family [120 steps; Consistency Index (CI): 0.41]. Two structures, in particular, evolve faster than the rest. The first is the ventral receptacle, which is a secondary sperm storage organ. It accounts for more than half of all the evolutionary changes observed (7 characters; 61 steps; CI: 0.46). It is morphologically diverse across genera, can be bi-lobed or multi-chambered (up to 80 chambers), and is strongly sclerotized in one clade. The second structure is the dorsal sclerite, which is present in all sepsids except Orygma luctuosum and Ortalischema albitarse. It is associated with the opening of the spermathecal ducts and is often distinct even among sister species (4 characters; 16 steps; CI: 0.56).<h4>Conclusions</h4>We find the internal female genitalia are diverse in Sepsidae and diagnostic for all species. In particular, fast-evolving structures like the ventral receptacle and dorsal sclerite are likely involved in post-copulatory sexual selection. In comparison to behavioral and molecular data, the female structures are evolving 2/3 as fast as the non-constant third positions of the COI barcoding gene. They display less convergent evolution in characters (CI = 0.54) than the third positions or sepsid mating behavior (CICOI = 0.36; CIBEHAV = 0.45).
Project description:The great radiation in the infraorder Cyclorrhapha involved several morphological and molecular changes, including important changes in anterior egg development. During Drosophila oogenesis, exuperantia (exu) is critical for localizing bicoid (bcd) messenger RNA (mRNA) to the anterior region of the oocyte. Because it is phylogenetically older than bcd, which is exclusive to Cyclorrhapha, we hypothesize that exu has undergone adaptive changes to enable this new function. Although exu has been well studied in Drosophila, there is no functional or transcriptional information about it in any other Diptera. Here, we investigate exu in the South American fruit fly Anastrepha fraterculus, a Cyclorrhapha of great agricultural importance that have lost bcd, aiming to understand the evolution of exu in this infraorder. We assessed its pattern of gene expression in A. fraterculus by analyzing transcriptomes from cephalic and reproductive tissues. A combination of next-generation data with classical sequencing procedures enabled identification of the structure of exu and its alternative transcripts in this species. In addition to the sex-specific isoforms described for Drosophila, we found that not only exu is expressed in heads, but this is mediated by two transcripts with a specific 5'UTR exon-likely a result from usage of a third promoter. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that exu is evolving under positive selection in Cyclorrhapha after divergence from lower Diptera. We found evidence of positive selection at two important exu domains, EXO-like and SAM-like, both involved with mRNA binding during bcd mRNA localization in Drosophila, which could reflect its cooptation for the new function of bcd mRNA localization in Cyclorrhapha.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Sexually dimorphic structures contribute the largest number of morphological differences between closely related insect species thus implying that these structures evolve fast and are involved in speciation. The current literature focuses on the selective forces that drive these changes, be it 'sexual conflict' or 'female choice'. However, there are only few studies examining the function of sexual dimorphisms and even fewer that investigate how functional changes influence dimorphisms. This is largely due to the paucity of taxa for which the morphology, behavior, and phylogenetic relationships for multiple species are known. Here we present such data for sepsid flies. Sepsids have starkly dimorphic forelegs whose function can be documented under laboratory conditions. We use data from 10 genes to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships for 33 species and test whether mounting positions are correlated with the presence and absence of sexual dimorphisms in the forelegs.<h4>Results</h4>The phylogenetic tree fully resolves the relationship with 29 of the 31 nodes of the tree having a posterior probability of 1.0. Twenty-eight of the 31 sepsid species have sexually dimorphic forelegs. All 28 species with such forelegs have the same mounting technique whereby the male uses his modified forelegs to grasp the female wingbase. Mapping mounting behavior and foreleg morphology onto the tree reveals that the wing grasp evolved once and was reduced twice. All changes in the mounting behavior are strictly and statistically significantly correlated with the origin and losses of sexually dimorphic legs (concentrated changes test: P < 0.001); i.e., the two species that have independently lost the wing grasp have both also re-evolved monomorphic legs. The wing grasp in these species is replaced with a novel but very similar mounting technique not involving the forelegs: the males bend their abdomens forward and directly establish genital contact to the female. In addition, one of the secondarily monomorphic species, Sepsis secunda, has evolved a new sexual dimorphism, a 'bump' on the dorsal side of the 4th tergite, which is now touching the ventral side of the female abdomen.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our study reveals that the evolution of sexually dimorphic legs in Sepsidae can only be understood once the function of the legs during mating is considered and the relationships of species with and without sexual dimorphisms are known. We demonstrate that homoplasy in sexually dimorphic structures can be due to homoplasy in mating behavior. We furthermore document that the two species with secondarily monomorphic legs have independently replaced the typical sepsid wing grasp with very similar, new mounting techniques. This suggests that convergent evolution may be common in mating behaviors.