Photo by Keith Willmott
Systematics of Euptychiina
This is a collaborative project aimed to revise systematics of the nymphalid butterfly subtribe Euptychiina (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae), a diverse group with many species in the lowlands . With over 400 described species in more than 40 genera, members of this group are often common in various habitats ranging throughout temperate and tropical North, Central and South America. Nevertheless, the identification of euptychiine species is challenging, resulting in many misidentified specimens in natural history collections, field guides, and even in scientific articles. This difficulty in identification is partly due to infraspecific variation being greater than interspecific variation, coupled with their drab and dull overall appearance. Another issue surrounding euptychiine systematics is the existence of many polyphyletic and paraphyletic genera, revealed by molecular phylogenetic studies. In fact, DNA sequence data indicate that only eight euptychiine genera are monophyletic entities, reflecting the fact that current euptychiine classification is clearly not natural. The past couple of years have seen an explosion of interest in euptychiine research, resulting in a number of papers dealing with species descriptions, taxonomic monographs, and higher-level phylogenetics, generated mainly by myself and other researchers from Europe, North America and South America. Consequently, our understanding of euptychiine classification, as well as its diversity, distribution, and biology are steadily improving with an updated estimate of over 500 species in about 70 genera. We continue to work on various generic revisions in order to contribute towards our better understanding of euptychiine systematics and document its species richness, in a view of using euptychiines as a research model in more broad and/or applied studies.
Video explaining our research on Euptychiina