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Moths cloaked in color
Date:8/31/2009

bes, Josiini and Dioptini. The first contains the Passiflora-feeders, while the second includes species with a remarkable range of host plants. It is interesting that in an age dominated by DNA analysis, adult morphological traits provided the structure for a very solid phylogeny for this group of animals.

Other taxonomic changes were also found. The previous classification, published in 1930, had little structure; species whose wing patterns essentially looked the same were lumped together. Miller's careful analysis has dissected these taxonomic groups, finding that 47 of the previously named species could be included within another existing species. Consequently, the total number of species has not increased substantially since the previous systematic review. Miller also found that clear-winged moths evolved four times within the Dioptinae and belong in four different genera. Similarly, moths from the passion-flower feeding group that have orange or yellow stripes radiating from the wing base had previously been put into one genus but are now determined to represent two separate evolutionary events; they belong in two different genera, Josia and Lyces.

"This Bulletin takes a previously unknown but vastly interesting group of insects and provides a means to identify them," says Miller. "Now, there is a real classification for this group, a sort-of launching pad for future investigations into a broad range of evolutionary topics."

All taxonomic information collected from this research has been placed in the Discover Life database and is currently being entered into the Lepidoptera Tree of Life. This research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, and by Museum trustee Robert G. Goelet. The author also acknowledges the support of the Museum's Lee Herman, David Grimaldi, Toby Schuh, and Steve Thurston, among many others. The Museum is one of the world's fo
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Contact: Kristin Elise Phillips
kphillips@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History
Source:Eurekalert  

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