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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #297833

Title: Morphological variation, taxonomic distribution, and phylogenetic significance of cornuti in Tortricinae (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

item ANZALDO, S. - Pennsylvania State University
item DOMBROSKIE, J. - Cornell University
item Brown, John

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2013
Publication Date: 1/25/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Anzaldo, S.S., Dombroskie, J.J., Brown, J.W. 2014. Morphological variation, taxonomic distribution, and phylogenetic significance of cornuti in Tortricinae (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 116:1-31.

Interpretive Summary: The caterpillars of moths in the family commonly known as “leaf-rollers” attack fruit, vegetable, and seed crops, as well as ornamental plantings and forest trees, causing billions of dollars in damage annually. Understanding the genealogical relationships among groups within the family helps us recognize patterns of food plant usage (e.g., pest potential), geographical distribution (ability to withstand new environments as invasives), and anatomical characters, all of which are important for excluding, detecting, and managing these insect pests. We examine the variation in a morphological character over one entire subfamily Tortricinae (about 5,000 species), and evaluate the significance of that variation. This information will be useful to scientists studying the reproductive structure of moths and their genealogical relationships and the ability to extrapolate this knowledge to species yet undiscovered. It also will be useful to action agencies such as APHIS whose mission is to detect and exclude potential invasive species at U.S. ports-of-entry.

Technical Abstract: Based on the examination of 4,218 slide-mounted preparations of male and female genitalia of tortricine moths, representing all major clades of the subfamily worldwide, we propose a classification system for cornuti based on four criteria: (1) presence/absence; (2) deciduous/non-deciduous; (3) type of attachment; and (4) shape. In general, the taxonomic distribution of deciduous vs. non-deciduous cornuti is in conformance with a recent phylogenetic hypothesis of the family. Some sister groups (i.e., tribes) have remarkably similar cornuti (e.g., Atteriini and Sparganothini); however, between other sister group, features of the cornuti (presence/absence, attachment, shape, size, etc.) provide little or no evidence of putative relationships (e.g., Ceracini and Archipini). Our studies suggest that if deciduous cornuti are homologous throughout Tortricidae, which seems likely, this feature arose near the base of the tree at the branch that supports the sister groups Olethreutinae + Tortricinae. The least derived Tortricinae (i.e., Phricanthini) possess typical deciduous cornuti as do most Archipini, Sparganothini, and Atteriini, and some Epitymbiini (Tortricinae), as well as some Eucosmini and Grapholitini (Olethreutinae).