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Nymphalinae Rafinesque 1815

Niklas Wahlberg and Andrew V. Z. Brower
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Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus) mating, Tanzania
taxon links [up-->]Victorinini [up-->]Junoniini [up-->]Nymphalini [up-->]Vanessula [up-->]Melitaeini [up-->]Kallimini [up-->]Coeini [up-->]Kallimoides [up-->]Rhinopalpa polynice [down<--]Nymphalidae Interpreting the tree
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Phylogenetic hypothesis of Nymphalinae from Wahlberg et al. (2005)
Containing group: Nymphalidae

Introduction

Nymphalinae comprises about 500 species distributed around the world. Several species in the group have been studied intensively, such as the checkerspots (Euphydryas and Melitaea), buckeyes (Junonia) and comma butterflies (Polygonia). The circumscription of Nymphalinae has enjoyed a dynamic history as various authors have considered various groups of species to represent core nymphalids. The current circumscription was partially suggested by Harvey (1991), with Wahlberg et al. (2005) including Coeini in the subfamily. The host plants of Nymphalinae are mainly in the families Urticaceae, Asteraceae, Acanthaceae, Plantaginaceae and Scrophulariaceae.

Wahlberg (2006) used fossil evidence and molecular data to arrive at an age of about 65 million years for the subfamily (not including Coeini which suffers from long branch problems). This age is surprisingly old (the age of butterflies has long been thought  to be about 70 million years), but suggests that the great extinction event at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary (best known for the point in time when the dinosaurs went extinct) has had a significant effect on the evolution of butterflies.

References

Harvey, D. J. 1991. Higher classification of the Nymphalidae, Appendix B. Pages 255-273 in The Development and Evolution of Butterfly Wing Patterns (H. F. Nijhout, ed.) Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.

Wahlberg, N. 2006. That awkward age for butterflies: insights from the age of the butterfly subfamily Nymphalinae. Systematic Biology 55:703-714.

Wahlberg, N., A. V. Z. Brower, and S. Nylin. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of tribes and genera in the subfamily Nymphalinae (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 86:227-251.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus) mating, Tanzania
Scientific Name Hypolimnas misippus
Location Karatu, Tanzania
Comments In this dimorphic species the orange female (above) mimics the distasteful African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus). The black-and-white male (below) is non-mimetic.
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By David Bygott
Behavior Copulating
Sex Male and female
Life Cycle Stage Adult
View Dorsal & lateral
Copyright © 2005
Scientific Name Aglais urticae
Location Switzerland
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Petite tortue
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2004 Luciano Giussani
Scientific Name Euphydryas aurinia
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Euphydryas aurinia (Rottemburg, 1775)
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2006 Carlos Franquinho
About This Page

Niklas Wahlberg
University of Turku, Finland


Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Niklas Wahlberg at and Andrew V. Z. Brower at

Page: Tree of Life Nymphalinae Rafinesque 1815. Authored by Niklas Wahlberg and Andrew V. Z. Brower. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Wahlberg, Niklas and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2017. Nymphalinae Rafinesque 1815. Version 16 December 2017 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Nymphalinae/12195/2017.12.16 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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