Assortative Mating in Sympatric Host Races of the European Corn Borer

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Science  08 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5719, pp. 258-260
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107577

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Although a growing body of work supports the plausibility of sympatric speciation in animals, the practical difficulties of directly quantifying reproductive isolation between diverging taxa remain an obstacle to analyzing this process. We used a combination of genetic and biogeochemical markers to produce a direct field estimate of assortative mating in phytophagous insect populations. We show that individuals of the same insect species, the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis, that develop on different host plants can display almost absolute reproductive isolation—the proportion of assortative mating was >95%—even in the absence of temporal or spatial isolation.

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