Chair of Forest Zoology and Entomology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i.Br. Chair of Forest Zoology and Entomology
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i.Br.

Chair of Forest Zoology and Entomology
Freiburg i.Br.

Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Danaini

Brower AVZ, Wahlberg N, Ogawa JR, Boppré M, Vane-Wright RI (2010) Phylogenetic relationships among genera of danaine butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) as implied by morphology and DNA sequences. System Biodiv 8(1): 75:89 link

Cladistic relationships among genera and subtribes of Danaini (the milkweed butterflies) were inferred by analysis of data combined from five sources: morphology of adults and immature stages, and DNA sequences from three gene regions. The results corroborate and greatly increase support for prior hypotheses based on morphology alone. A new index summarizing incongruence among data partitions, the Partition Congruence Proportion (PCP), is introduced. The significance of the inferred pattern of phylogenetic relationships for comparative chemical ecology of milkweed butterflies is briefly discussed.

Vane-Wright RI, Boppré M, Ackery PR (2002) Miriamica, a new genus of milkweed butterflies with unique alar androconial organs (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Zool Anz 242: 255-267. lesen / read

Results of microscopical (SEM) investigations of the androconial organs of Parantica sita and P. weiskei are presented. Such is the structural novelty of the patch scales in P. weiskei that, in combination with other morphological characters, it is proposed that a new genus Miriamica is established to accommodate this species, together with a second species, M. thalassina, until now regarded as a subspecies of weiskei, separate from Parantica and other members of the subtribe Amaurina.

Vane-Wright RI, Schulz S, Boppré M (1992) The cladistics of Amauris butterflies: congruence, consensus and total evidence. Cladistics 8: 125-138.

Two data sets for 10 species of African milkweed butterflies (Nymphalidae, Danainae: one Danaus [D. chrysippus], two Tirumala [T. petiverana, T. formosa], seven Amauris) have been analyzed cladistically, separately and in combination. One data set comprised 32 morphological characters, the other comprised 68 chemical compounds from male scent organs. Analyzed separately, the two data sets produced six similar but non-identical minimum-length solutions. Analyzed together, the combined data set of 100 characters produced a single minimum-length tree, identical to one of the three solutions for the morphological data set. The combined data produced a more informative result than congruence comparisons based on strict or combinable component consensus analysis. These results, together with re-analysis of a morphological data set for all 15 species of Amauris [niavius, tartarea, ellioti, phoedon, comorana, echeria, vashti, crawshayi, hecate, albimaculata, damocles, ochlea, nossima, dannfelti, inferna] (which produced 12 minimum-length solutions), permit increased resolution of the existing classification of this Afrotropical genus, including the formal recognition of two subgenera, Amauris (Amauris) Hubner, and Amauris (Amaura) Geyer (stat. rev.). The fit of uniquely derived, unreversed chemical characters to the tree raises the possibility that stepwise additive evolution of semiochemicals may have occurred during cladogenesis of these mimetic butterflies. The implications for chemoecology and speciation are briefly discussed.

Vane-Wright RI, Boppré M (1990) The unknown male of Tiradelphe schneideri (Lepidoptera, Danainae) – missing piece in a butterfly puzzle. Tyô to Ga 41: 193-199.

Chemical communication in milkweed butterflies (Danainae) involves some remarkable specialisations, including pheromone components derived from specially gathered secondary plant compounds, and complex androconial systems. Within the Danaini, the androconia of most of the species produce pheromone-transfer-particles (PTPs), used as "love dust" during courtship. PTPs are generated in quite different ways in the different genera, notably Danaus and Tirumala, strongly suggestive of parallel evolution. At present we can offer no explanation for this – or the alternative possibility, that such specialized systems have undergone evolutionary transformation, one into another.
Tiradelphe schneideri, first described in 1984 as a new genus and species within the Danaini, is still only known from two female specimens from Mount Popomanaseu, Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands. Cladistic analysis has placed Tiradelphe in an unresolved group with Danaus and Tirumala. Discovery of the unknown male of Tiradelphe is therefore expected to shed new light on the evolution of these butterflies, including their chemical communication. Lepidopterists who may be able to visit the Solomon Islands in search of this rare insect are encouraged to contact the authors to discuss how best to gather the missing information needed to solve this butterfly puzzle.