Researcher Information


Associate Professor

Unraveling the evolutionary history of drosophilids

Department of Biological Sciences, Biodiversity


Study on phylogeny and evolution in Drosophilidae

Fieldphylogeny, phylogeography, population genetics
Keyworddrosophilids, evolution, biodiversity, phylogenetic tree, DNA

Introduction of Research

Drosophilid flies are extensively studied organisms in biological science. Since Drosophila melanogaster was used as a material for genetic studies by T. H. Morgan and his colleagues, these flies have been used as model organisms in various fields, including genetics, ecology, behavior, development, and so on.
Taxonomically, these flies belong to the family Drosophilodae. The family Drosophilidae is a large group of muscomorphan Diptera, including over 4000 described species. These species are widely distributed around the world, ranging from the tropics to the temperate zones. Furthermore, their breeding sites are also diverse; plant leaves, fungi, sap fluxes of trees, fruits, and flowers. To date, a large amount of knowledge has been accumulated for the biology of Drosophilidae. Nevertheless, the evolutionary history of Drosophilidae, which should provide a basis for the various studies using drosophilid flies, has not well been understood.
In order to explore this problem, we study on the phylogeny and character evolution of several drosophilid species that have not yet been focused by other studies.

Drosophilid flies collected in a field
Some species belonging to Drosophilidae
Multiple origins of Hawaiian drosophilids. From a reconstruction of ancestral biogeography, we inferred that Idiomyia and Scaptomyza diverged outside the Hawaiian Islands and then independently colonized the Hawaiian Islands.

Representative Achievements

Katoh T, Izumitani HF, Yamashita S, Watada M (2017) Multiple origins of Hawaiian drosophilids: Phylogeography of Scaptomyza Hardy (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Entomological Science 20: 33-44.
Izumitani HF, Kusaka Y, Koshiikawa S, Toda MJ, Katoh T (2016) Phylogeography of the subgenus Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae): Evolutionary history of faunal divergence between the Old and the New Worlds. PLoS ONE 11: e0160051.
Gao JJ, Hu YG, Toda MJ, Katoh T, Tamura K (2011) Phylogenetic relationships between Sophophora and Lordiphosa, with proposition of a hypothesis on the vicariant divergences of tropical lineages between the Old and New Worlds in the family Drosophilidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60: 98-107.
Katoh T, Nakaya D, Tamura K, Aotsuka T (2007) Phylogeny of the Drosophila immigrans species group (Diptera: Drosophilidae) based on Adh and Gpdh sequences. Zoological Science 24: 913-921.
Katoh T, Tamura K, Aotsuka T (2000) Phylogenetic position of the subgenus Lordiphosa of the genus Drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae) inferred from alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution 51: 122-130.
Academic degreePh.D.
Affiliated academic societyThe Entomological Society of Japan, The Zoological Society of Japan, The Society of Evolutionary Studies, Japan, The Genetics Society of Japan