Molecular phylogeny and generic-level taxonomy of the widespread palaeotropical 'Heteropsis clade' (Nymphalidae : Satyrinae: Mycalesina)
The mycalesine butterfly genus Heteropsis Westwood, 1850 (Satyrinae: Mycalesina) has recently been conceived to be represented in three major palaeotropical regions (Madagascar, Africa and Asia), but there has been no formal taxonomic treatment covering this entire group. Studies aimed at understanding the evolutionary success of Mycalesina in the Old World tropics have been hampered by the lack of both a robust phylogeny and a stable nomenclature for this satyrine subtribe. Here, we present a well-supported molecular phylogeny based on 10 genes and 133 exemplar taxa, representing almost all known species groups of Heteropsis (s.l.), and including all but four known species in Madagascar. We also combine sequences of the exemplars with a morphological matrix of 428 characters. The widespread 'Heteropsis clade' is confirmed as monophyletic, but lineages in different geographic regions also form endemic and well-supported clades with deep divergences among them. Here we establish this group as comprising three genera, Heteropsis (Malagasy region only), Telinga Moore, 1880 (Asia), and Brakefieldia gen.n. (Africa). We recover the genera Telinga and Brakefieldia as sisters with high support. Each genus is taxonomically characterized and a revised synonymic checklist is appended with new combinations and some changes in rank. With a well-resolved topology and updates to the taxonomy of the group, researchers are now in a position to explore the drivers of the spectacular radiation of the group, notably in Madagascar, where the highest phenotypic and species diversity occurs.
- ISSN: 0307-6970