Molecular systematics and phylogeny of the ‘Marbled Whites' (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae, Satyrinae, Melanargia Meigen)



Abstract. We investigated genetic divergence and phylogenetic relationships amongst all known species of Palaearctic butterflies of the genus Melanargia using sequence information from three genes [mitochondrial cox1 barcode region (658 bp), ribosomal 16S rRNA (c. 518 bp), and nuclear wg (404 bp)]. Results show a lack of DNA divergence among several poorly characterized taxa, as well as deep divergences within and between others. We corroborated the molecular information with morphological and genitalic characters as well as with geographic data. We revise the taxonomy of Melanargia, and propose a new systematic scheme for the group. We revive some previous synonymies (M. lucasi meadwaldoistat. rev., M. ines fathmestat. rev., M. ines jahandiezistat. rev., M. meridionalis tapaishanensisstat. rev.), revise the status of some subspecies into species (M. transcaspicastat. nov., M. lucidastat. nov., M. wiskottistat. nov.) and of several species into subspecies of other taxa (M. evartianae sadjadiistat. nov., M. larissa hylatastat. nov., M. larissa grumistat. nov., M. larissa syriacastat. nov., M. larissa titeastat. nov., M. lugens montanastat. nov., M. epimede ganymedesstat. nov.), revise the status of subspecies and transfer them to other species (M. larissa lorestanensisstat. nov., M. larissa iranicastat. nov., M. larissa karabagistat. rev., M. larissa kocakistat. nov., M. transcaspica ebertistat. nov.), and propose new synonymies (M. larissa titea = M. titea standfussisyn. nov. = M. titea titaniasyn. nov., M. leda leda = M. leda yunnanasyn. nov., M. lugens lugens = M. lugens ahyouisyn. nov., M. lugens hengshanensis = M. lugens hoeneisyn. nov., M. halimede halimede = M. halimede gratianisyn. nov., M. asiatica asiatica = M. asiatica dejeanisyn. nov., = M. asiatica elisasyn. nov., = M. asiatica sigbertisyn. nov.).