• First mitogenome of subfamily Langiinae (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) with its phylogenetic implications

      Wang, Xu; Zhang, Hao; Kitching, I; Xu, Zhen-Bang; Huang, Yi-Xin (Elsevier BV, 2021-04-18)
      To date, a relatively complete classification of Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) has been generated, but the phylogeny of the family remains need to be fully resolved. Some phylogenetic relationships within Sphingidae still remains uncertain, especially the taxonomic status of the subfamily Langiinae and its sole included genus and species, Langia zenzeroides. To begin to address this problem, we generated nine new complete mitochondrial genomes, including that of Langia, and together with that of Theretra oldenlandiae from our previous study and 25 other Sphingidae mitogenomes downloaded from GenBank, analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of Sphingidae and investigated the mitogenomic differences among members of the Langiinae, Sphinginae, Smerinthinae and Macroglossinae. The mitogenomes of Sphingidae varied from 14995 bp to 15669 bp in length. The gene order of all newly sequenced mitogenomes was identical, containing 13 protein-coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes, 22 transfer RNA genes and the A + T-rich region. Nucleotide composition was A + T biased, and all the protein-coding genes exhibited a positive AT-skew, which was reflected in the nucleotide composition, codon, and amino acid usage. The A + T-rich region was comprised of nonrepetitive sequences, which contained regulatory elements related to the control of replication and transcription. We analyzed concatenated gene sequences, with third codon positions of protein coding genes and rRNAs excluded, using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference techniques. All four currently recognized subfamilies were recovered as monophyletic but in contrast to the most recent studies, our preferred tree placed Langiinae as the first subfamily to diverge within Sphingidae rather as sister to Smerinthinae + Sphinginae. Our results also support the removal of the genus Barbourion from the smerinthine tribe Ambulycini to an unresolved position in "Smerinthinae incertae sedis".
    • How has the environment shaped geographical patterns of insect body sizes? A test of hypotheses using sphingid moths

      Beerli, Nicolas; Bärtschi, Florian; Ballesteros‐Mejia, Liliana; Kitching, I; Beck, Jan (Wiley, 2019-08)
      Aim: We mapped the geographical pattern of body sizes in sphingid moths and investigated latitudinal clines. We tested hypotheses concerning their possible environmental control, that is, effects of temperature (negative: temperature size rule or Bergmann's rule; positive: converse Bergmann rule), food availability, robustness to starvation during extreme weather and seasonality. Location: Old World and Australia/Pacific region. Methods: Body size data of 950 sphingid species were compiled and related to their distribution maps. Focusing on body length, we mapped the median and maximum size of all species occurring in 100 km grid cells. In a comparative approach, we tested the predictions from explanatory hypotheses by correlating species' size to the average environmental conditions encountered throughout their range, under univariate and multivariate models. We accounted for phylogeny by stepwise inclusion of phylogenetically informed taxonomic classifications into hierarchical random‐intercept mixed models. Results: Median body sizes showed a distinctive geographical pattern, with large species in the Middle East and the Asian tropics, and smaller species in temperate regions and the Afrotropics. Absolute latitude explained very little body size variation, but there was a latitudinal cline of maximum size. Species' median size was correlated with net primary productivity, supporting the food availability hypothesis, whereas support for other hypotheses was weak. Environmental correlations contributed much less (i.e. <10%) to explaining overall size variation than phylogeny (inclusion of which led to models explaining >70% of variability). Main conclusion: The intuitive impression of larger species in the tropics is shaped by larger size maxima. Median body sizes are only very weakly related to latitude. Most of the geographical variation in body size in sphingid moths is explained by their phylogenetic past. NPP and forest cover correlate positively with the body size, which supports the idea that food availability allowed the evolution of larger sizes.
    • How has the environment shaped geographical patterns of insect body sizes? A test of hypotheses using sphingid moths.

      Beerli, N; Bärtschi, F; Kitching, IJ; Ballesteros-Mejia, L; Beck, J (Wiley, 2019-05-14)
      Aim: We mapped the geographical pattern of body sizes in sphingid moths and investigated latitudinal clines. We tested hypotheses concerning their possible environmental control, that is, effects of temperature (negative: temperature size rule or Bergmann's rule; positive: converse Bergmann rule), food availability, robustness to starvation during extreme weather and seasonality. Location: Old World and Australia/Pacific region. Methods: Body size data of 950 sphingid species were compiled and related to their distribution maps. Focusing on body length, we mapped the median and maximum size of all species occurring in 100 km grid cells. In a comparative approach, we tested the predictions from explanatory hypotheses by correlating species' size to the average environmental conditions encountered throughout their range, under univariate and multivariate models. We accounted for phylogeny by stepwise inclusion of phylogenetically informed taxonomic classifications into hierarchical random‐intercept mixed models. Results: Median body sizes showed a distinctive geographical pattern, with large species in the Middle East and the Asian tropics, and smaller species in temperate regions and the Afrotropics. Absolute latitude explained very little body size variation, but there was a latitudinal cline of maximum size. Species' median size was correlated with net primary productivity, supporting the food availability hypothesis, whereas support for other hypotheses was weak. Environmental correlations contributed much less (i.e. <10%) to explaining overall size variation than phylogeny (inclusion of which led to models explaining >70% of variability). Main conclusion: The intuitive impression of larger species in the tropics is shaped by larger size maxima. Median body sizes are only very weakly related to latitude. Most of the geographical variation in body size in sphingid moths is explained by their phylogenetic past. NPP and forest cover correlate positively with the body size, which supports the idea that food availability allowed the evolution of larger sizes.