The endemic land snail genus Mandarina of the oceanic Bonin Islands shows exceptionally diverse morphological and ecological traits. Previous studies have already provided evidence that speciation on different islands of the three main archipelagos was such that similar ecotypes evolved independently in different lineages and islands. Here we present data to show that the same species can have different ecotypes. As most of the characters involved are inherited, then variation between ecotypes must represent genetic differences between populations. We then show that the radiation on the Bonin Islands is derived from a single colonization event, and use a mitochondrial phylogeny to provide evidence for a burst of cladogenesis soon after colonization. As divergent selection has previously been implicated in causing differences between Mandarina species, and theory predicts that most of the speciation should have taken place early in their history, then the study adds to the evidence for an adaptive radiation by ecological speciation in Mandarina. However, while the diversity of ecotypes present at each site is dependent on the regime of natural selection and competition, geography still must have an important role. © 2006 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2006, 88, 269–282.