Authors: Chris Stassen (firstname.lastname@example.org), email@example.com (James W. Meritt), Anneliese L
Authors: Chris Stassen (firstname.lastname@example.org),
email@example.com (James W. Meritt),
Anneliese Lilje (firstname.lastname@example.org),
L. Drew Davis (email@example.com)
Title: A List of Observed Speciation Events
By Chris Stassen:
Here is a short list of referenced speciation events. I picked
four relatively well-known examples, from about a dozen that I
had documented in materials that I have around my home. These
are all common knowledge, and by no means do they encompass all
or most of the available examples.
A strain of _drosophilia paulistorum_ developed hybrid
sterility after being isolated in the lab for only a
couple of years.
(Test for speciation: offspring are not fertile, like
horse vs. donkey.)
Dobzhansky, Th., and O. Pavlovsky, 1971. "An experimentally
created incipient species of Drosophilia", _Nature_
Evidence that a species of fireweed formed by doubling of
the chromosome count, from the original stock. (Note that
polyploids are generally considered to be a separate "race"
of the same species as the original stock, but they do meet
the criteria which you suggested.)
(Test for speciation: cannot produce offspring with the
Mosquin, T., 1967. "Evidence for autopolyploidy in
_Epilobium angustifolium_ (Onaagraceae)", _Evolution_
Rapid speciation of the Faeroe Island house mouse, which
occurred in less than 250 years after man brought the
creature to the island.
(Test for speciation in this case is based on morphology.
It is unlikely that forced breeding experiments have been
performed with the parent stock.)
Stanley, S., 1979. _Macroevolution: Pattern and Process_,
San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Company. p. 41
Formation of five new species of cichlid fishes which
formed since they were isolated less than 4000 years
ago from the parent stock, Lake Nagubago.
(Test for speciation in this case is by morphology and
lack of natural interbreeding. These fish have complex
mating rituals and different coloration. While it might
be possible that different species are inter-fertile,
they cannot be convinced to mate.)
Mayr, E., 1970. _Populations, Species, and Evolution_,
Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. p. 348
By Jim Meritt:
firstname.lastname@example.org (91F9774) writes:
>I have a friend who says since we have never seen a species actually
>split into two different species during recorded history that he has
>trouble believing in the theory of evolution.
>1) Is this bogus and have humans seen animals bred into different
> species? (The various highly bred english dogs come to mind but I
> suppose this would be easier to find in vegetation (corn, wheat
> strains?), Donkey/Mules? )
This is bogus. We've seen it happen naturally WITHOUT our tampering
with the process.
>From the FAQ:
"Three species of wildflowers called goatsbeards were introduced to
the United States from Europe shortly after the turn of the century.
Within a few decades their populaltions expanded and began to
encounter one another in the American West. Whenever mixed
populations occurred, the specied interbred (hybridizing) producing
sterile hybrid offspring. Suddenly, in the late forties two new
species of goatsbeard appeared near Pullman, Washington. Although the
new species were similliar in appearance to the hybrids, they
pproduced fertile offspring. The evollutionary process had created a
separate species that could reproduce but not mate with the goatsbeard
plants from which it had evolved."
The article is on page 22 of the February, 1989 issue of
_Scientific_American_. It's called "A Breed Apart." It tells about
studies conducted on a fruit fly, Rhagoletis pomonella, that is a
parasite of the hawthorn tree and its fruit, which is commonly called
the thorn apple. About 150 years ago, some of these flies began
infesting apple trees, as well. The flies feed an breed on either
apples or thorn apples, but not both. There's enough evidence to
convince the scientific investigators that they're witnessing
speciation in action. Note that some of the investigators set out to
prove that speciation was not happening; the evidence convinced them
By Anneliese Lilje:
Just a smattering of a HUGE database of articles:
1) Bullini, L and Nascetti, G, 1991, Speciation by Hybridization
in phasmids and other insects, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume
68(8), pages 1747-1760.
2) Ramadevon, S and Deaken, M.A.B., 1991, The Gibbons speciation mechanism,
Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 145(4) pages 447-456.
3) Sharman, G.B., Close, R.L, Maynes, G.M., 1991, Chromosome evolution,
phylogony, and speciation of rock wallabies, Australian Journal
of Zoology, Volume 37(2-4), pages 351-363.
4) Werth, C. R., and Windham, M.D., 1991, A model for divergent, allopatric,
speciation of polyploid pteridophytes resulting from silencing of duplicate-
gene expression, AM-Natural, Volume 137(4):515-526.
5) Spooner, D.M., Sytsma, K.J., Smith, J., A Molecular reexamination
of diploid hybrid speciation of Solanum-raphanifolum, Evolution,
Volume 45, Number 3, pages 757-764.
6) Arnold, M.L., Buckner, C.M., Robinson, J.J., 1991, Pollen-mediated
introgression and hybrid speciation in Louisana Irises, P-NAS-US,
Volume 88, Number 4, pages 1398-1402.
7) Nevo, E., 1991, Evolutionary Theory and process of active speciation
and adaptive radiation in subterranean mole rats, spalax-ehrenbergi
superspecies, in Isreal, Evolutionary Biology, Volume 25, pages 1-125.
.... on and on to about #50 if you like...
There are about 100 each for every year before 1991 to 1987 in my
By L. Drew Davis:
A LIST OF SPECIATION REFERENCES:
Weiberg, James R.. Starczak, Victoria R.. Jorg, Daniele.
Evidence for rapid speciation following a founder event in
Evolution. V46. P1214(7) August, 1992.
Go fish. (rapid fish speciation in African lakes).
Discover. V13. P18(1) March, 1992.
Hauffe, Heidi C.. Searle, Jeremy B..
A disappearing speciation event? (response to J.A. Coyne,
Nature, vol. 355, p. 511, 1992)
Nature. V357. P26(1) May 7, 1992
Abstract AB: Analysis of contact between two chromosomal races of house
mice in northern Italy show that natural selection will
produce alleles that bar interracial matings if the
resulting offspring are unfit hybrids. This is an important
exception to the general rule that intermixing races will
not tend to become separate species because the constant
sharing of genes minimizes the genetic diversity requisite
Barrowclough, George F..
Speciation and Geographic Variation in Black-tailed
Gnatcatchers. (book reviews)
The Condor. V94. P555(2) May, 1992
Rabe, Eric W.. Haufler, Christopher H..
Incipient polyploid speciation in the maidenhair fern
(Adiantum pedatum; Adiantaceae)?
The American Journal of Botany. V79. P701(7) June, 1992.
Bird speciation in subtropical South America in relation to
forest expansion and retraction.
The Auk. V109. P346(12) April, 1992
Abstract AB: The climatic and geographic history of the Pleistocene and
Holocene periods modified the distribution of the bird
population in the South American forests. Forest birds are
found dispersed in the Yungas and Paranese areas with only
minimal infiltration of the Chaco woodland, indicating an
atmospheric change during the interglacial periods. In the
Chaco lowlands, the interactions between non-forest birds
reveal the existence of presence of a forest belt along the
Bermejo and Pilcomayo rivers.
Kondrashov, Alexey S.. Jablonka, Eva. Lamb, Marion J..
Species and speciation. (response to J.A. Coyne, Nature,
vol. 355, p. 511, 1992)
Nature. V356. P752(1) April 30, 1992
Abstract AB: J.A. Coyne wrongly asserted that neodarwinism includes
allopatric evolution but not sympatric evolution.
Allopatric evolution occurs among geographically isolated
populations, whereas sympatric evolution occurs within one
species' entire population. Both are neodarwinian since
each results from natural selection of genetic variation.
Also, Coyne failed to recognize that the molecular models
used to illustrate how genetic changes bring on speciation
are most useful when researchers acknowledge that both
inherited epigenetic and genetic changes affect speciation.
Spooner, David M.. Sytsma, Kenneth J.. Smith, James F..
A molecular reexamination of diploid hybrid speciation of
Evolution. V45. P757(8) May, 1991
Orr, H. Allen.
Is single-gene speciation possible?.
Evolution. V45. P764(6) May, 1991
Miller, Julie Ann.
Pathogens and speciation. (Research Update).
BioScience. V40. P714(1) Nov, 1990.
Barton, N.H. Hewitt, G.M.
Adaptation, speciation and hybrid zones; many species are
divided into a mosaic of genetically distinct populations,
separated by narrow zones of hybridization. Studies of
hybrid zones allow us to quantify the genetic differences
responsible for speciation, to measure the diffusion of
genes between diverging taxa, and to understand the spread
of alternative adaptations. (includes related information)
Nature. V341. P497(7) Oct 12, 1989.
A breed apart; finicky flies lend credence to a theory of speciation.
Scientific American. V260. P22(2) Feb, 1989.
Coyne, Jerry A. Orr, H. Allen.
Patterns of speciation in Drosophila.
Evolution. V43. P362(20) March, 1989.
Feder, Jeffrey L. Bush, Guy L.
A field test of differential host-plant usage between two
sibling species of Rhagoletis pomonella fruit flies
(Diptera: Tephritidae) and its consequences for sympatric
models of speciation.
Evolution. V43. P1813(7) Dec, 1989.
Soltis, Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S.
Allopolyploid speciation in Tragopogon: insights from chloroplast DNA.
The American Journal of Botany. V76. P1119(6) August, 1989.
Coyne, J.A. Barton, N.H.
What do we know about speciation?.
Nature. V331. P485(2) Feb 11, 1988.
Barton, N.H. Jones, J.S. Mallet, J.
No barriers to speciation. (morphological evolution).
Nature. V336. P13(2) Nov 3, 1988.
Kaneshiro, Kenneth Y.
Speciation in the Hawaiian drosophila: sexual selection
appears to play an important role.
BioScience. V38. P258(6) April, 1988.
1) Speciation occured in a strain of Drosophila paulistorum sometime between
1958 and 1963 in Theodosius Dobzhansky's lab. He wrote this up in:
Dobzhansky, T. 1973. Species of Drosophila: New Excitement in an
Old Field. Science 177:664-669
2) A naturally occurring speciation of a plant species, Stephanomeria
malheurensis, was observed in Burns County, Oregon. The citing is:
Gottlieb, L. D. 1973. Genetic differentiation, sympatric
speciation, and the origin of a diploid species of
Stephanomeria. American Journal of Botany 60(6):545-553
3) In the 1940's a fertile species was produced through chromosome doubling
(allopolyploidy) in a hybrid of two primrose species. The new species was
Primula kewensis. The story is recounted in:
Stebbins, G. L. 1950. Variation and Evolution in Plants.
Columbia University Press. New York
4) Finally, two workers produced reproductiove isolation between two
strains of fruit flies in a lab setting within 25 generations. I don't
have the paper handy, so I can't give the species. The partial citing
of the paper is:
Rice and Salt 1988. American Naturalist 131:911-
Dohbzhansky got a subpopulation of _D. paulistorum to speciate in
his lab. The reference is:
Dobxhansky and Pavlovsky, 1957 An experimentallly created incipient
species of Drosophila, Nature 23: 289- 292
Weinberg, et. al, 1992 Evidence for rapid speciation following a
founder event in the laboratory, Evolution 46: 1214
This isn't a full paper (just a note) -- it describes what is probably
speciation of a type of polychaete worm.
There are two distinct strains of *Rhagoletis pomonella*, the apple
maggot fly. One infests the apple, the other the hawthorn. They have
different breeding times--as the fruits flower at different times--and
so they do not interbreed in the real world. I do not know if they
could interbreed in the laboratory. Since the fly is not found in
Europe, and the apple is an import from Europe, the only presumption
is that the apple strain is a speciation off the original hawthorn
I do not currently have references to cite for the speciation of fish,
however I have a couple for the case of rats. Genus _Rattus_
currently consists of 137 species [1,2] and is known to have
originally developed in Indonesia and Malaysia during and prior to the
Middle Ages . ( is the only source I have consulted.)
 T. Yosida. Cytogenetics of the Black Rat. University Park
Press, Baltimore, 1980.
 D. Morris. The Mammals. Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1965.
 G. H. H. Tate. "Some Muridae of the Indo-Australian region,"
Bull. Amer. Museum Nat. Hist. 72: 501-728, 1963.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank