The higher classification of butterflies (Lepidoptera): problems and prospects R. DE JONG, R. I. VANE-WRIGHT and P. R. ACKERY Progress in understanding the higher classification of butterflies has not kept pace with increase in the number of described species. Important points of uncertainty or contention include, apart from ranking problems, monophyly of Papilionoidea plus Hesperioidea, their relationship with other Lepidoptera in general and the Hedyloidea in particular, the question of the sister group of the Pieridae (either Papilionidae, or Lycaenidae + Nymphalidae), and the division of families into subfamilies. Traditional groupings are discussed and compared with the results of a cladistic analysis using 103 characters and 74 species (59 butterflies and 1 5 moths). The cladistic analysis supports a number of currently held views about butterfly classification, such as monophyly of five major family groupings (Hesperiidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Lycaenidae and Nymphalidae) and suggests sister group relationships between Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea, and Pieridae and (Lycaenidae + Nymphalidae). Most tradi- tional subfamilies, however, are not supported on the basis of the data set used but the Rio- dininae, which always appeared as a monophyletic, subordinate group within the Lycaenidae, are a notable exception. Further, the analysis suggests that, contrary to
Insect Systematics & Evolution – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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