Biogeography of the subspecies of Parides (Byasa) alcinous (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) based on a phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial ND5 sequences


Takashi Yagi, Division of Radiobiology and Environmental Science, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Osaka Prefecture University, 1-2 Gakuen-cho, Sakai, Osaka 599-8570, Japan. E-mail:


Abstract.  The phylogeny of the butterflies Parides (Byasa) alcinous caught at various localities in Japan and the Ryukyu Islands and in the eastern part of the Eurasian Continent was analysed using mitochondrial DNA sequences coding for NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 (778 bp). The same phylogenetic relationship among P. (B.) alcinous subspecies was obtained with all analytical methods used, and was supported by high bootstrap values. The female butterfly wing pattern that characterizes each subspecies was unrelated to the phylogenetic relationship among the subspecies. The phylogenetic trees show that one group composed of ssp. alcinous and yakushimanus, which are distributed in the main area of the Japan Archipelago, the Korean Peninsula and southern Primorski of Russia, and the other group comprised of ssp. loochooanus, bradanus and miyakoensis, all of which are distributed in the Ryukyu Islands, diverged from a common ancestor. The ssp. loochooanus distributed in Amami and Okinawa Islands then diverged, and ssp. bradanus and miyakoensis distributed in Yaeyama and the Miyako Islands, respectively, finally diverged. This divergence order nearly agrees with the palaeogeography of the Ryukyu Islands that has been established in Pliocene and Pleistocene (0.2–2 MYA), suggesting that P. (B.) alcinous has been isolated in the Ryukyu Islands since the establishment of the islands.