Like the saltans group, the willistoni species are entirely Neotropical in distribution. Gleason et al. (1998) have provided an excellent phylogeny of the willistoni species group based on the nucleotide sequences of several genes. Their phylogeny suggests that D. paulistorum is paraphyletic with respect to D. pavlovskiana. They suggest that there is a conflict in species concepts, biological versus phylogenetic, in this case. The D. pavlovskiana– D. paulistorum lineage is the sister taxon of D. equinoxialis. Drosophila tropicalis is sister to this group, in contrast to the results of Ayala et al. (1974), where D. willistoni and D. tropicalis were each other’s closest relatives and sister taxa to the D. paulistorum– D. equinoxialis clade. Drosophila insularis and D. nebulosa occupy the more basal position on the phylogeny.
(excerpted from Markow and O’Grady, 2006, Chapter 1)
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