[Taxacom] Ghost moth systematics

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Nov 9 05:22:37 CST 2012


A little bit of self advertising for those who may be interested in this
obscure group. The article "Morphological evidence for phylogenetic
relationships within the Hepialidae (Lepidoptera: Exoporia)" can be
accessed at http://johngrehan.net/index.php/hepialidae/grehanheppub


The paper was completed under some extremely difficult circumstances which
may excuse at least some of any errors and other limitations. Abstract
below. Note the caveat concerning this morpho genetic result and future
molecular genetics.

John Grehan
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ABSTRACT - Of the 70 currently recognized genera of Hepialidae, 58 were
examined to test earlier evidence (Grehan, 2010) for a Latin American
(tergal lobe) clade comprising *Druceiella* and three other genera, and to
identify character states that may be informative of broader generic
relationships within the Hepialidae. Thirty six characters were considered
in this study and the relationships were analyzed between 45 genera where
informative character states were shared between two or more genera.
Derived states were defined with respect to an outgroup comprising other
Hepialoidea and the Mnesarchoidea. Character state analysis (PAUP) showed
significant bootstrap (78%) support for the genera *Afrotheora,
Antihepialus, Fraus, Gazoryctra* (‘primitive Hepialidae’ of authors) as the
sistergroup for the remaining six clades (74%) of which the tergal lobe
clade was corroborated (75%). The ‘oxycanine’ genera of Australasia were
grouped together, but with low bootstrap support (52%) and several
characters were involved in clustering four mostly European genera
together, but without significant bootstrap support. The lack of resolution
for these and other genera is attributed to the lack of character states
identified in the current survey. These results are therefore considered
provisional and contingent upon future exhaustive survey of morphological
features in the Hepialidae and especially for the outgroup whose members
are poorly documented at present for many features. The morphological
evidence presented here is considered to represent independent genetic
(heritable) evidence to that of DNA sequence similarity and therefore not
necessarily falsifiable by any future incongruent patterns of molecular
sequence similarity



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