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Quantifying Wing Shape and Size of Saturniid Moths with Geometric Morphometrics
Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society
  • Minjia Zhong, Buchholz High School
  • Geena M. Hill, Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Jesse R. Barber, Boise State University
  • Akito Y. Kawahara, Florida Museum of Natural History
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Butterflies and moths exhibit a spectacular diversity of w in g sh ape and size. The extent of wing variation is particularly evident in wild silk moths (Saturniidae), which have large wing shape and size variation. Some species have jagged wing margins, rounded forewing apical lobes, or narrow hind wings with long tails, while others lack these traits entirely. Surprisingly, very little work has been done to formally quantify wing variation within the family. We analyzed the hind wing shape and size of 76 saturniid species representing 52 genera across five subfamilies using geometric morphometrics. We identified fifteen landmarks that we predict can be applied to families across Lepidoptera. PCA analyses grouped saturniid hind wings into six distinct morphological clusters. These groups did not appear to follow species relatedness—some phylogenetically and genetically distantly related taxa clustered in the same morphological group. We discuss ecological factors that might have led to the extraordinary wing variation within Saturniidae.

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This document was originally published in Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society by Lepidopterists' Society. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.18473/lepi.70i2.a4

Citation Information
Minjia Zhong, Geena M. Hill, Jesse R. Barber and Akito Y. Kawahara. "Quantifying Wing Shape and Size of Saturniid Moths with Geometric Morphometrics" Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society (2016)
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