Five sootywing species are found in North America: Pholisora catullus (Fabricius), P. mejicana (Reakirt), Hesperopsis libya (Scudder), H. alpheus (W. H. Edwards), and H. gracielae (MacNeill). However, the specific status of the latter two is unclear with some authorities giving them only subspecies status. We examined relationships between the three Hesperopsis spp. and Pholisora catullus using DNA sequences of two mitochondrial (COI and COII) and two conserved nuclear (28S and EF1α) genes. Maximum likelihood analyses based on the concatenated sequences confirmed that H. alpheus and H. gracielae are very closely related. Although there were seven fixed differences, average divergence in the twomitochondrial loci was wellwithin that normally expected within a species. However, corroborative fixed differences in the two nuclear genes provide very strong support for H. alpheus and H. gracielae being distinct species.
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12 June 2015
Genetic Characterization of North American Sootywings (Lepidoptera: Hesperidae) Using Nuclear and Mitochondrial Loci Validates Specific Status of MacNeill's Sootywing, Hesperopsis gracielae (MacNeill)
Gordon F. Pratt,
Paul F. Rugman-Jones,