Monday, 30 July 2012

Morphology of immature stages of the butterfly genus Junea and its implications

Fredy Montero was very kind to send me his recent publication (with Maira Ortiz) describing morphological characters of eggs, larvae and pupae of  the satyrine butterfly genus Junea.

They raised the specimens on the hostplant Chusquea in Colombia. What I found most interesting is the morphology of the last instars of the larva. They have very long "horns" and long bifid "tails".
Head of Junea doraete larva.
It was believed that the only Neotropical butterfly with these traits was the satyrine butterfly Eteona tisiphone from southeast Brazil:
Eteona tisiphone larva (from Freitas, 2002), head on the left.
These similarities explain in part why Eteona and Junea appear as closely related taxa in the Satyrinae phylogeny that we published in 2006:
Satyrinae phylogeny from Peña et al., 2006: doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.007
At the time of writing that manuscript, it was very strange to find the Andean genera Junea and Pronophila close to the genera Eteona and Foetterleia (that are mainly distributed in Southeastern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina). It is nice to see that these relationships can be supported by morphological characters of immature stages. It would be very interesting to see whether the larvae and pupae of Pronophila and Foetterleia share the same characters with Eteona and Junea. This could require interesting biogeographical explanations for such close relationships of among currently disjunct taxa.
Pupae of Junea doraete (left) and Eteona tisiphone (right).

  • Freitas, A. V. L. Immature stages of Eteona tisiphone (Nymphalidae Satyrinae). Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 56, 286–288 (2002).
  • Montero Abril, F. & Perez, M. O. Estados inmaduros e historia natural de algunas especies de la subtribu Pronophilina (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) presentes en el paramo del Tablazo, Colombia. I. Junea doraete doraete (Hewitson 1858). Tropical Lepidoptera Research 22, 32–41 (2012).
  • Carlos Peña, Niklas Wahlberg, Elisabet Weingartner, Ullasa Kodandaramaiah, Sören Nylin, André V.L. Freitas, Andrew V.Z. Brower (2006). Higher level phylogeny of Satyrinae butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) based on DNA sequence data Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 40 (1), 29-49 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.007