S. Sim, M. Mattsson, JASMINE L. Feder
May 1, 2012
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Prezygotic isolation due to habitat choice is important to many models of speciation‐with‐gene‐flow. Habitat choice is usually thought to occur through positive preferences of organisms for particular environments. However, avoidance of non‐natal environments may also play a role in choice and have repercussions for post‐zygotic isolation that preference does not. The recent host shift of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) from downy hawthorn, Crataegus mollis, to introduced apple, Malus domestica, in the eastern United States is a model for speciation‐with‐gene‐flow. However, the fly is also present in the western United States where it was likely introduced via infested apples ≤ 60 years ago. R. pomonella now attacks two additional hawthorns in the west, the native C. douglasii (black hawthorn) and the introduced C. monogyna (English ornamental hawthorn). Flight tunnel tests have shown that western apple‐, C. douglasii‐ and C. monogyna‐origin flies all positively orient to fruit volatile blends of their respective natal hosts in flight tunnel assays. Here, we show that these laboratory differences translate to nature through field‐trapping studies of flies in the state of Washington. Moreover, western R. pomonella display both positive orientation to their respective natal fruit volatiles and avoidance behaviour (negative orientation) to non‐natal volatiles. Our results are consistent with the existence of behaviourally differentiated host races of R. pomonella in the west. In addition, the rapid evolution of avoidance behaviour appears to be a general phenomenon for R. pomonella during host shifts, as the eastern apple and downy hawthorn host races also are antagonized by non‐natal fruit volatiles.