This study uses isozyme electrophoresis to investigate the systematic status of two rare flightless chafer beetle species, Prodontria modesta and P. bicolorata, currently distinguished solely on the basis of colour. Seven polymorphic loci were analysed for the species in sympatry and allopatry. In sympatry, gene frequencies imply no genetic barrier between the two colour forms. Wright's hierarchical F-statistics were calculated to determine how the genetic variation is partitioned across the geographic range of the two species. Strong geographic structuring occurs at the population level but there is little genetic differentiation attributable to species. Comparisons of morphological measurements are in support of the electrophoretic results. The systematic significance of the two distinct colour forms is thus questionable. Under the biological, recognition or phylogenetic species concepts, the genetic data suggest that there is only one species, polytypic for a colour pattern. Most of the genetic diversity of this group of beetles lies within and among populations, which differ quite markedly over their geographic range, rather than between the two named species.
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