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To investigate the utility of a region of wingless (wg) as a marker for molecular systematics, we compared wg sequences to mitochondrial COII sequences from twenty-two nymphalid butterfly taxa and one outgroup. Compositional characteristics of the two gene regions are compared, and their contributions to a cladogram inferred from the combined data set are assessed. Primarily due to its uniform base composition, wg appears to become saturated more slowly than mtDNA, although the two genes appear to be evolving at quite similar rates. We suggest that wg will be a useful source of characters for phylogenetic studies of butterflies, and perhaps other insect taxa, with divergence times up to 60 million years ago.