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Integrative taxonomy and phylogeny of the group pseudoparallela (Diptera, Tephritidae, Anastrepha)

Grant number: 23/05851-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): February 28, 2026
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Marcoandre Savaris
Grantee:Alexandre Santos Araújo
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Host Company:Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ)
Associated research grant:18/02317-5 - Center for Excellence in Biological Control, AP.PCPE


Anastrepha species are known as fruit flies because their larvae use fruits or seeds as a nutritional resource for their development. The genus is divided into 25 species groups, including the pseudoparallela group, with 31 species usually associated with passion fruit (Passiflora spp., Passifloraceae). This species group is characterized by the apex of the triangular aculeus with tiny teeth in its entire length or almost. Most species of this group were described many years ago and must be redescribed in more detail to provide a better taxonomic understanding of the group and improve the diagnosis of the taxa. In addition, there are taxa deposited in collections, which probably represent new species and, therefore, need to be examined and described. The classification of this group is inconclusive as phylogenetic studies with morphological data and containing a broad taxonomic sampling of the group has not yet been carried out. Furthermore, all phylogenetic inferences based on molecular data could not recover the monophyly of the pseudoparallela group with good statistical support. The non-resolution of the relationships of the species of the pseudoparallela group has hindered the establishment of a synapomorphy and, consequently, made it impossible to elaborate a diagnosis for the group. Thus, historically, species in the pseudoparallela group have been included based on their association with passion fruit species (Passiflora spp.). Therefore, all species specialized in attacking passion fruit fruits are part of the pseudoparallela group. Still, this relationship does not allow inferring whether the association with these host plants arose only once in Anastrepha, since the inclusion of species in the pseudoparallela group has taken into account characteristics that do not necessarily have an evolutionary relationship. This project aims to revise the taxonomy, study the relationships of the Anastrepha species belonging to the pseudoparallela group based on morphological and molecular phylogeny, test the accuracy of different regions of the mitochondrial DNA for the recognition of the species of the group, and provide informations on host plants and parasitoids.

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