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Species limits in butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): reconciling classical taxonomy with the multispecies coalescent

Journal article
Authors Pável Matos-Maraví
N. Wahlberg
Alexandre Antonelli
C. M. Penz
Published in Systematic Entomology
Volume 44
Issue 4
Pages 745-756
ISSN 0307-6970
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 745-756
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/syen.12352
Keywords delimitation, diversity, discovery, inference, insights, model, Evolutionary Biology, Entomology
Subject categories Evolutionary Biology

Abstract

Species delimitation is at the core of biological sciences. During the last decade, molecular-based approaches have advanced the field by providing additional sources of evidence to classical, morphology-based taxonomy. However, taxonomy has not yet fully embraced molecular species delimitation beyond threshold-based, single-gene approaches, and taxonomic knowledge is not commonly integrated into multilocus species delimitation models. Here we aim to bridge empirical data (taxonomic and genetic) with recently developed coalescent-based species delimitation approaches. We use the multispecies coalescent model as implemented in two Bayesian methods (dissect/stacey and bp&p) to infer species hypotheses. In both cases, we account for phylogenetic uncertainty (by not using any guide tree) and taxonomic uncertainty (by measuring the impact of using a priori taxonomic assignments to specimens). We focus on an entire Neotropical tribe of butterflies, the Haeterini (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae). We contrast divergent taxonomic opinion - splitting, lumping and misclassifying species - in the light of different phenotypic classifications proposed to date. Our results provide a solid background for the recognition of 22 species. The synergistic approach presented here overcomes limitations in both traditional taxonomy (e.g. by recognizing cryptic species) and molecular-based methods (e.g. by recognizing structured populations, and not raising them to species). Our framework provides a step forward towards standardization and increasing reproducibility of species delimitations.

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