• biosecurity;
  • fruit fly;
  • multi-gene phylogeny;
  • species delimitation


Bactrocera dorsalis sensu stricto, B. papayae, B. philippinensis and B. carambolae are serious pest fruit fly species of the B. dorsalis complex that predominantly occur in south-east Asia and the Pacific. Identifying molecular diagnostics has proven problematic for these four taxa, a situation that cofounds biosecurity and quarantine efforts and which may be the result of at least some of these taxa representing the same biological species. We therefore conducted a phylogenetic study of these four species (and closely related outgroup taxa) based on the individuals collected from a wide geographic range; sequencing six loci (cox1, nad4-3′, CAD, period, ITS1, ITS2) for approximately 20 individuals from each of 16 sample sites. Data were analysed within maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic frameworks for individual loci and concatenated data sets for which we applied multiple monophyly and species delimitation tests. Species monophyly was measured by clade support, posterior probability or bootstrap resampling for Bayesian and likelihood analyses respectively, Rosenberg's reciprocal monophyly measure, P(AB), Rodrigo's (P(RD)) and the genealogical sorting index, gsi. We specifically tested whether there was phylogenetic support for the four ‘ingroup’ pest species using a data set of multiple individuals sampled from a number of populations. Based on our combined data set, Bactrocera carambolae emerges as a distinct monophyletic clade, whereas B. dorsalis s.s., B. papayae and B. philippinensis are unresolved. These data add to the growing body of evidence that B. dorsalis s.s., B. papayae and B. philippinensis are the same biological species, which poses consequences for quarantine, trade and pest management.