MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS IN THE FAMILY SPHINGIDAE (LEPIDOPTERA: BOMBYCOIDEA)
Mignault, Andre Arthur
Mitter, Charles W
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Moths in superfamily Bombycoidea (Lepidoptera) exhibit a range of strongly divergent life history traits, especially concerning larval herbivory and adult feeding. Building on Regier et al. (2001), this study aimed to provide a context for investigation of life history evolution by reconstructing molecular phylogenetic hypotheses of relationships within one bombycoid family, Sphingidae. Coding nucleotide sequence data were collected from two genes, Elongation Factor 1-alpha (1,274bp) and Dopa Decarboxylase (1,373bp), across 65 & 67 sphingids and 40 & 51 lepidopteran outgroups, respectively. Variation in both genes was concentrated in third codon positions, and phylogenetic signal between them proved discordant. Analyses under criteria of Maximum Parsimony and Maximum Likelihood generated six unique hypotheses of sphingid relatedness, each of which was evaluated for concordance with Kitching & Cadiou's (2000) classification. Given weak bootstrap support within and conflicting basal relationships among these topologies, they are best viewed as novel hypotheses subject to further testing via collection of new molecular data.