Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: A molecular phylogeny for the pyraloid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea) and its implications for higher-level classification Author
Submitted to: Systematic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2012
Publication Date: 10/15/2012
Citation: Regier, J.C., Mitter, C.E., Solis, M.A., Hayden, J.E., Landry, B., Nuss, M., Simonsen, T.J. 2012. A molecular phylogeny for the pyraloid moths (Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea) and its implications for higher-level classification. Systematic Entomology. 37:635-656. Interpretive Summary: Snout moths include numerous major pests of crops, stored foodstuffs, forests and ornamental plants that cause millions of dollars of damage annually and require the use of insecticides and other expensive management practices. They are also tested and used as biological control agents against invasive plants. Knowledge of relationships among the species is critical to the identification and higher-level placement of species, and for developing effective strategies for their detection, exclusion, and control. In this paper we present the first detailed analyses of relationships among members of the superfamily based on molecular sequences. The two families, Pyralidae and Crambidae, are strongly supported, we identified a “wet-habitat clade” and a “mustard-oil clade” among 21 subfamilies of snout moths, and synonymized 3 subfamilies. This information will be of interest to evolutionary biologists, scientists involved in predicting geographical spread of invasive species, and other biologists interested in patterns of plant host-use.
Technical Abstract: Pyraloidea, one of the largest superfamilies of Lepidoptera, comprise more than 15,000 described species worldwide, including important pests, biological control agents and experimental models. Understanding of pyraloid phylogeny, the basis for a predictive classification, is currently provisional. We present the first detailed molecular estimate of relationships across the subfamilies of Pyraloidea, and assess its concordance with previous morphology-based hypotheses. We sequenced up to five nuclear genes (6,633 bp) in each of 42 pyraloids spanning both families and 21 of the 24 subfamilies, plus up to 14 additional genes, for a total of 14,826 bp, in 22 of those pyraloids plus all 24 outgroups. Maximum likelihood analyses yield trees that, within Pyraloidea, differ little among data sets and character treatments and are strongly supported at all levels of divergence (83% of nodes with bootstrap = 80%). Subfamily relationships within Pyralidae, all very strongly supported (>90% bootstrap), differ only slightly from a previous morphological analysis, and can be summarized as (((Galleriinae + Chrysauginae) (Phycitinae (Pyralinae + Epipaschiinae))). The main remaining uncertainty involves Chrysauginae, of which the poorly studied Australian genera may constitute the basal elements of Galleriinae + Chrysauginae or even of Pyralidae. In Crambidae, for which morphology has been much less informative, the molecular phylogeny is also strongly supported, but conflicts with most previous hypotheses. Among the newly-proposed groupings is a “wet-habitat clade” comprising Acentropinae + Schoenobiinae + Midilinae, and a provisional “mustard oil clade” containing Glaphyriinae, Evergestinae and Noordinae, in which the majority of described larvae feed on Brassicales. Within this clade a previous synonymy of Dichogaminae with the Glaphyriinae is supported. Evergestinae and Noordinae are here also newly synonymized with Glaphyriinae, which appear to be paraphyletic with respect to both. Pyraustinae and Spilomelinae as sampled here are each monophyletic but form a sister group pair. Wurthiinae, comprising the single genus Niphopyralis, which lives in ant nests, are closely related to, apparently subordinate within, and here newly synonymized with, Spilomeliinae.