Chris's focal taxon

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Contents

Lepidopteran Families Sphingidae and Cossidae

Sphingidae

Sphingid moths (also known as hawk moths or sphinx moths) are a well known and charismatic clade belonging to the order Lepidoptera. Sphingid moths are readily distinguishable by their aerodynamic shape and unique method of flying--they are rapid fliers and are capable of a remarkable number of wingbeats per minute. Sphingids can beat their wings so quickly that they are often mistaken for hummingbirds. Perhaps not coincidentally, moths of the family sphingidae often fill the same ecological niches that hummingbirds do--that is, they feed on nectar with their long proboscises and act as important pollinators.

Hawk moth larvae are more commonly known as "hornworms" because of a characteristic horn protruding from their heads. The tobacco and tomato hornworm are significant agricultural pests.

Sphingidae One Oxyambulyx pryeri (Indiv176)

Leg Spikes: Yes

Antennae Style: Pipe-like

Location:

  • Padang Point

Time of day: 7pm

Date: 25 June 2010

Description: Brown, drab moth. Abdomen fat with black long extending longitudinally. Forewings brown with single, axial black spot. Hindwings orange with black stripes. Antennae pipe-like.

Sphingidae Two Elibia dolichus (Indiv158)

Leg Spikes: Yes

Antennae Style: Pipe-like

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 28 June 2010

Time of day: 9pm

Description: Black, velvety body with longitudinal white stripe on abdomen. Antennae pipe-like. Forewings brown with dark diagonal stripes. Hindwings darker and cryptic.

Sphingidae Three Marumba sp. (Indiv157)

Leg Spikes: Yes

Antennae Style: Pipe-like

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 27 June 2010

Time of day: 8pm

Description: Brown body with black longitudinal stripe on abdomen. Pipe-like antennae. Forewings brown with hints of iridescent purple. Green semicircle on hind part of forewing. Hindwings mostly brown. Placed in Marumba genus because of wing shapes.

Sphingidae Four Compsogene panopus (Indiv173)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Pipe-like

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 29 June 2010

Time of day: 12pm

Description: Large moth. Hindwings particularly colorful--red with grayish margins. Thorax covered with large, velvety scales. Abdomen is brownish with the terminal being covered with large, velvety scales of a darker brown. Antennae pipe-like. Possible new species for Borneo. Caught while sleeping during the day on side of building.

Sphingidae Five Theretra clotho (Indiv177)

Leg Spikes: Yes

Antennae Style: Pipe-like

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 28 June 2010

Time of day: 7pm

Description: Medium sized sphingid. Green with two, black, longitudinal stripes on abdomen. Forewings and hindwings drab, although the forewings have dark, diagonal stripes. Antennae pipe-like



Cossidae

Cossid moths (also known as goat moths)... They smell bad. Superficially look like sphingids. Larvae used as food in Outback.

Cossidae One Xyleutes mineus (Indiv156)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Half plumose, half wiry

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Time of day: 10pm

Date: 28 June 2010

Description: Striking metallic colors--blue abdomen, pink wings with blue spots. Axial end of antennae plumose, distal end wiry.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 10pm

Cossidae Two Xyleutes ceramica (Indiv158)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Half plumose, half wiry

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 28 June 2010

Time of day: 8pm

Description: Slender moth. Abdomen, forewings, and hindwings cryptic. Hindwings and forewings slender. Forewings have dark, diagonal stripes. Abdomen has black, longitudinal stripe.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 8pm.

Cossidae Three Xyleutes strix (Indiv179)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Half plumose, half wiry

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 30 June 2010

Time of day: 11pm

Description: Large, long moth. Abdomen dark. Forewings and hindwings cryptic with many dark spots. Antennae plumose distally, wiry axially.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 11pm.

Cossidae Four Zeuzera borneana (Indiv181)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Half plumose, half wiry

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 28 June 2010

Time of day: 11pm

Description: Smallish moth. Mostly white. Forewings and hindwings have dark spots. Abdomen has latitudinal, black stripes. Forelimbs hairy and have the appearance of raptorial limbs.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 11pm.

Cossidae Five Zeuzera sp. (Indiv182)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Half plumose, half wiry

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 28 June 2010

Time of day: 7pm

Description: Large, white moth. Abdomen white with latitudinal black bands. Forewings white with dark spots. Hindwings cryptic. Forelimbs hairy and have the appearance of raptorial forelimbs. Specimen placed in Zeuzera genus because of shared characteristics with Zeuzera borneana, e.g. hairy forelimbs, color. Constructed morphological phylogeny supports this placement.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 10pm. Might be new species to Borneo.



Unknown (Probably Cossidae)

Unknown X (Indiv174)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Full Plumose

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Time of day: 10pm

Date: 28 June 2010

Description: Largish moth with long, slender abdomen that ends with long brushes. Forewings brown with two triangular clear patches on each. Hindwings cryptic. Scales on thorax gives the impression of a lion's mane

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 10pm

Unknown Y (Indiv175)

Leg Spikes: No

Antennae Style: Full Plumose

Location:

  • Maliau Study Center

Date: 29 June 2010

Time of day: 9pm

Description: Largish, brown moth with long slender abdomen that ends with long brushes. Forewings and hindwings brown with a dark diagonal stripe on the forewings. Dense, golden scales on thorax gives the appearance of a lion's mane. Antennae plumose.

Collected near mercury vapor light at around 9pm.


Discussion and Trees

The phylogenetic analysis of these two clades has yielded some interesting information. First and foremost, the ancestral character tracings highlight the importance of choosing substantial morphological characteristics. Colors (such as hindwing coloration(fig2) and abdominal stripes(not pictured)) are a mess when you plot them on a phylogeny and generally make poor synapomorphies. Antennae shape and leg morphology (spike(fig3), hair presence(fig4)) are monophyletic when you plot them on the phylogeny, however, and subsequently make excellent synapomorphies. Based on this phylogeny, small as it may be, because of highly conserved synapomorphies, it does not entirely unreasonable to say things like all moths of the genus Zeuzera have hairy forelimbs. It is also interesting to note that despite the sphingid and cossid's morphological similarity, they have split off into two (nearly) distinct groups.
Matrix of Characters
Complete Phylogeny(fig1)
Hindwing Morphology(fig2)
Leg Spike Presence(fig3)
Hairy Forelimb Presence(fig4)

More sampling would need to take place in order to truly clear up some of this phylogeny's more troublesome nodes (why is Compsogene panopus smack dab in the middle of the cossids?) but, as fig1 highlights, it's possible to get a reasonably accurate phylogeny if synapomorphies are carefully chosen. the inclusion of more characters (preferably of the molecular variety) would also greatly increase the accuracy of this phylogeny.


Individual Determined by Date Taxon Genus Species Morphotype
Indiv156 Chris 1 July 2010 Xyleutes mineus Xyleutes mineus
Indiv157 Chris 8 July 2010 Marumba Marumba
Indiv158 Chris 25 June 2010 Elibia dolichus Elibia dolichus
Indiv173 Chris 30 June 2010 Compsogene panopus Compsogene panopus
Indiv174 Chris 8 July 2010 Lion Moth x
Indiv175 Chris 8 July 2010 Lion Moth y
Indiv176 Chris 25 June 2010 Oxyambulyx pryeri Oxyambulyx pryeri
Indiv177 Chris 8 July 2010 Theretra clotho Theretra clotho
Indiv178 Chris 8 July 2010 Xyleutes ceramica Xyleutes ceramica
Indiv179 Chris 8 July 2010 Xyleutes strix Xyleutes strix
Indiv181 Chris 8 July 2010 Zeuzera borneana Zeuzera borneana
Indiv182 Chris 8 July 2010 Zeuzera sp. Zeuzera