›› 2009, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (2): 191-201.

• RESEARCH PAPERS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Molecular phylogeny of 12 families of the Chinese butterflies based on mitochondrial ND1 and 16S rRNA gene sequences (Lepidoptera: Ditrysia: Rhopalocera)


  • Online:2009-03-18 Published:2009-02-20

Abstract: In this study, the phylogenetic relationships of 12 families of the Chinese butterflies were investigated based on mitochondrial ND1 and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Thirty-two Chinese species were included in the analyses, of which 30 species were sequenced for the ND1 and 9 for the 16S rRNA gene. In the alignment, the two combined genes were 869 bp in length, including 373 conserved, 496 variable and 375 parsimonious-informative sites, respectively. The average percentage of A+T is 80.2%, which is much higher than that of C+G (19.8%). With both Zygaena angelicae and Z. transalpina as the outgroup taxa, the phylogenetic trees were reconstructed with the neighbor-joining (NJ), maximum-likelihood (ML) and Bayesian inference (BI) methods. Major results included that: 1) Nymphalidae is not monophyletic; 2) the acraeids, danaids and libytheids are included in Nymphalidae; 3) the Pieridae and Papilionidae have a closest common ancestor; 4) the Parnassiidae should be included in Papilionidae; and 5) the satyrids should be separated from the Nymphalidae and be given a family rank. In addition, our results also suggest that the Riodinidae should be classified into Lycaenidae, and the acraeids should be given a subfamily rank. As to the amathusiidae, its taxonomic level and phylogentic position need further more detailed studies.

Key words: Lepidoptera, Ditrysia, Rhopalocera, mitochondrial ND1 gene, 16S rRNA gene, phylogeny