Tsetse flies, Glossina pallidipes (Diptera: Glossinidae) are said to have strong dispersal tendencies. Gene flow among these populations is estimated to be the theoretical equivalent of no more than one or two reproducing flies per generation, thereby raising the hypothesis of local regimes of natural selection. Flies were sampled from four environmentally diverse locations in Kenya to determine whether populations are homogeneous in desiccation tolerance and cuticular lipids. Cuticular hydrocarbon fractions known to act as sex pheromones do not differ among populations, thereby eliminating sexual selection as an isolating mechanism. Cuticular lipid quantities vary among populations and are not correlated with prevailing temperatures, humidities, and normalized density vegetation indices. Females demonstrate a stronger correlation than males between cuticular lipid mass and body weight. Desiccation rates also vary among populations, but are not correlated with the amounts of cuticular lipid. Chemical analysis of cuticular hydrocarbons by gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy shows that one of the four populations has more 11,15- and 11,21-dimethyl-31 hydrocarbon on females. These results are discussed in the context of population differences and estimates of gene flow.
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