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Molecular phylogenetics of the subfamily Nolinae (Lepidoptera: Nolidae)

Idczak, Laure (2018) BION01 20171
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
Molecular data have offered new opportunities to resolve phylogenies especially in highly diverse and species-rich groups. The resolution of evolutionary relationships within Lepidoptera have progressed with the development of molecular methods. New species and genera are regularly described for the recently studied noctuoid moth subfamily Nolinae. Because of the limits of morphological characters I present here a first attempt to resolve the evolutionary relationships of the subfamily Nolinae using a molecular dataset comprising nine gene fragments: Ca-ATPase, cytochrome c oxydase subunit I (COI), elongation factor-1alpha (EF-1α), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), cytosolic malate... (More)
Molecular data have offered new opportunities to resolve phylogenies especially in highly diverse and species-rich groups. The resolution of evolutionary relationships within Lepidoptera have progressed with the development of molecular methods. New species and genera are regularly described for the recently studied noctuoid moth subfamily Nolinae. Because of the limits of morphological characters I present here a first attempt to resolve the evolutionary relationships of the subfamily Nolinae using a molecular dataset comprising nine gene fragments: Ca-ATPase, cytochrome c oxydase subunit I (COI), elongation factor-1alpha (EF-1α), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (MDH), Nex9, ribosomal protein S5 (RpS5), wingless. The phylogenetic trees were computed using two model-based methods of reconstruction: maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. The resulting phylogenetic hypothesis supports taxonomic revision of the subfamily Nolinae with taxonomically older and more species-rich genera being non-monophyletic: Nola Leach, Meganola Dyar, Manoba Walker. A higher taxon sampling is needed to conclude about other genera included in the study. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The Tree of Moths: Molecular phylogenetics of a Lepidoptera subfamily

Systematics is the study of the past and present biodiversity. One of its main tools is the classification system inherited from Linnaeus' work with the modern classification shaped by the idea of clades or monophyletic groups. Not only used for identification purposes it now aims to reflect the evolutionary history of lineages of organisms. It is assumed that all life forms could be linked to one another in a global tree of life. However finer details of the relationships between species are to be solved at a more restricted level for phylogenetic trees.

By its species richness and ecological functions the order Lepidoptera is an important model in biological... (More)
The Tree of Moths: Molecular phylogenetics of a Lepidoptera subfamily

Systematics is the study of the past and present biodiversity. One of its main tools is the classification system inherited from Linnaeus' work with the modern classification shaped by the idea of clades or monophyletic groups. Not only used for identification purposes it now aims to reflect the evolutionary history of lineages of organisms. It is assumed that all life forms could be linked to one another in a global tree of life. However finer details of the relationships between species are to be solved at a more restricted level for phylogenetic trees.

By its species richness and ecological functions the order Lepidoptera is an important model in biological studies. Historically the phylogeny of Lepidoptera has been studied by examining museum samples, a process demanding in time and expertise. Fortunately the advent of molecular methods using DNA sequences and the development of computing methods allowed important progress in the resolution of the relationships within the order. Following studies on the superfamily Noctuoidea and family Nolidae, my work focused on the subfamily level with the Nolinae. The study of this moth subfamily distributed worldwide is quite recent, starting from the 1990s with taxonomical work on morphology. There are two historical and most species rich-genera, Nola Leach 1815 and Meganola Dyar 1898 and at least 22 new genera have been described between 2010 to 2017. Using the current knowledge on Nolinae I applied molecular methods for a first attempt to resolve the phylogeny and test the monophyly of some genera, which is testing if species from the same genera cluster together and share a common ancestor.

The dataset included 826 sequences from 104 specimens representing 8 subfamilies of Nolidae including 55 specimens (14 genera and 40 species) of Nolinae. I generated 318 sequences for 47 samples and additionally sequences were retrieved from databases. The genes used were traditional genes in Lepidoptera studies and some more recently developed specifically for this order. The dataset was analysed using two different statistical methods: maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference.

All Nolidae subfamilies were highly supported although the relationships between them were poorly resolved. The trees obtained from the two methods were highly similar which is an indication for the robustness of the results. Especially the topology for both trees was the same for the Nolinae subfamily. As could be expected the historical genera are not monophyletic while some of the most recent ones seems to be although a better sampling of the Nolinae subfamily is necessary for taxonomic revision. Indeed the dataset lacked type species for many genera and one or two species are not sufficient to establish monophyly. However the quality of the dataset was difficult to assess because of the lack of knowledge about Nolinae.

This work represents the basis for further exploration of systematics and phylogeny of Nolinae and will help the taxonomists who define morphological characters as supporting evidence. Despite the Lepidoptera being considered as one of the best described group its diversity is far from being fully covered, a predicable state for Earth's biodiversity as a whole.

Master’s Degree Project in Biology, 45 credits 2018
Department of Biology, Lund University

Advisor: Niklas Wahlberg
Department of Biology (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Idczak, Laure
supervisor
organization
course
BION01 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8936264
date added to LUP
2018-02-21 09:22:54
date last changed
2018-02-21 09:22:54
@misc{8936264,
  abstract     = {Molecular data have offered new opportunities to resolve phylogenies especially in highly diverse and species-rich groups. The resolution of evolutionary relationships within Lepidoptera have progressed with the development of molecular methods. New species and genera are regularly described for the recently studied noctuoid moth subfamily Nolinae. Because of the limits of morphological characters I present here a first attempt to resolve the evolutionary relationships of the subfamily Nolinae using a molecular dataset comprising nine gene fragments: Ca-ATPase, cytochrome c oxydase subunit I (COI), elongation factor-1alpha (EF-1α), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (MDH), Nex9, ribosomal protein S5 (RpS5), wingless. The phylogenetic trees were computed using two model-based methods of reconstruction: maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. The resulting phylogenetic hypothesis supports taxonomic revision of the subfamily Nolinae with taxonomically older and more species-rich genera being non-monophyletic: Nola Leach, Meganola Dyar, Manoba Walker. A higher taxon sampling is needed to conclude about other genera included in the study.},
  author       = {Idczak, Laure},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Molecular phylogenetics of the subfamily Nolinae (Lepidoptera: Nolidae)},
  year         = {2018},
}