Location: Systematic Entomology
Title: Order Lepidoptera Linnaeus, 1758. Authors
Submitted to: Zootaxa
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 29, 2011
Publication Date: December 23, 2011
Citation: Nieukerken, V., Kaila, L., Kitching, I., Kristensen, N., Lees, D., Mitter, C., Solis, M.A., Brown, J.W. 2011. Order Lepidoptera Linnaeus, 1758. Zootaxa. 3148:212-221. Interpretive Summary: Butterflies and moths are among the greatest radiations of plant-feeding animals on the planet. Adults of many play important roles in pollination, and larvae or caterpillars are critical components in the food webs of numerous birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles. Owing to their plant-feeding habits, many species are economically important pests of crops, ornamental, and forest plants. Our understanding of the diversity and classification of the butterflies and moths has grown considerably over the last decade based on analyses relying on molecular data. This paper proposes a new classification for butterflies and moths based on these findings. This work will be of interest to those interested in the evolution, species richness, and classification of animals in general.
Technical Abstract: Based on two recent molecular analyses, augmented by the discovery of several published or unpublished novel morphological synapomorphies, a new classification is proposed for the order Lepidoptera. The new classification is more consistent with our growing knowledge of the phylogeny of the group and hence will provide a more stable framework for assessing major morphological, biological, and ecological innovations within the order.