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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376388

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Towards a Stable Global Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) Taxonomy

item KEEGAN, KEVIN - University Of Connecticut
item ROTA, J. - Smithsonian Institute
item ZAHIRI, REZA - Lund University
item WAHLBERG, NIKLAS - Canadian National Collection Of Insects & Ottawa Plant Laboratory, Entomology
item SCHMIDT, CHRISTIAN - Canadian National Collection Of Insects & Ottawa Plant Laboratory, Entomology
item LAFONTAINE, DONALD - Canadian National Collection Of Insects & Ottawa Plant Laboratory, Entomology
item Goldstein, Paul
item WAGNER, DAVID - University Of Connecticut

Submitted to: Systematic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2021
Publication Date: 5/3/2021
Citation: Keegan, K., Rota, J., Zahiri, R., Wahlberg, N., Schmidt, C., Lafontaine, D., Goldstein, P.Z., Wagner, D. 2021. Towards a Stable Global Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) Taxonomy. Systematic Entomology. 5(3):1-24.

Interpretive Summary: Owlet moths (noctuids) include the most economically important insects in the world and represent the largest superfamily of moths, but their classification remains in turmoil and many of the recognized subfamilies represent artificial groupings. This study combines a large molecular-genetic data set with anatomical characters traditionally used to define these groupings, and makes numerous improvements to the accepted classification based on rigorous analysis. This work is of interest to a wide range of scientists and applied entomologists.

Technical Abstract: The Noctuidae are one of the most evolutionarily diverse, ecologically successful, and economically important lineages of animals. The over 12,000 world species have been parsed into about 1150 genera. Here we infer a molecular phylogeny based on eight gene regions (>5,500 base pairs) for the global fauna, emphasizing the sampling of 70 of the 76 widely recognized family-group taxa: 20 of the 21 currently recognized subfamilies, 32 of the 35 tribes, and 18 of the 20 subtribes, greatly expanding upon previous attempts to stabilize the higher classification of the Noctuidae. Nearly half of the 362 genera we sampled are represented by their type species. For obviously polyphyletic genera we often sequenced more than a single exemplar. Seventeen subfamily-level taxa are individually evaluated: each of these synopses includes discussion of morphological characters of adults and larvae, life history data, and taxonomic implications of our results. Current concepts on Acontiinae, Condicinae, Eustrotiinae, Metoponiinae, Stiriinae are significantly affected by our results. Bryophilinae and Eriopinae are treated respectively as tribes Bryophilini stat. rev. and Eriopini stat. rev. within the Noctuinae. Molecular and morphological findings support recognition of Cropiinae Keegan and Wagner subf. nov. Other proposed nomenclatural changes follow. Apaustis is moved to Acontiinae. “Acontia” viridifera, “Azenia” virida, Aleptinoides, Austrazenia, Chalcoecia, Megalodes, and Trogotorna are transferred to the tribe Chamaecleini in Acontiinae. “Acontia” trabealis is reinstated as Emmelia trabealis stat. rev. Allophyes and Meganephria are moved into the Cucullinae. “Plagiomimicus” navia, Airamia¸ Alvaradoia, Hypoperigea, Neotarache, and Mesotrosta are transferred to Condicinae. Anycteola and Supralathosea are transferred to Oncocnemidinae. Axenus, Azenia, Metaponpneumata, Sexserrata, and Tristyla are transferred to Metoponiinae. Pachythrix, “Paramiana” canoa, and Proteuxoa are moved to Noctuinae. Cobubatha, Copibryophila, Homolagoa, Tripudia, and Tyta are transferred to Noctuidae incertae sedis.