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J Mol Evol. 1999 Jan;48(1):42-8.

Phylogeny of Japanese papilionid butterflies inferred from nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial ND5 gene.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Yoshida-konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Phylogenetic relationships among the Japanese papilionid butterflies were analyzed by comparing 783 nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial gene encoding NADH dehydrogenase subunit 5 (ND5). Phylogenetic trees of the representative species from each family in the superfamily Papilionoidea revealed that the species of the family Papilionidae and those of all other families formed distinct clusters, with a few species of the family Hesperiidae (Hesperioidea) as an outgroup. In the phylogenetic trees of most Japanese species of the family Papilionidae with Nymphalis xanthomelas (Nymphalidae) as an outgroup, the tribe Parnassiini (Parnassiinae) formed a cluster, and the rest formed the other cluster in which the tribe Zerynthiini (Parnassiinae) and the subfamily Papilioninae formed different subclusters. In the Papilioninae cluster, the tribes Troidini and Graphiini formed a subcluster, and the tribe Papilionini formed the other subcluster. These results generally agree with the traditional classification of the papilionid butterflies based on their morphological characteristics and support the proposed evolutionary genealogy of the butterflies based on their morphology, behavior, and larval host plants, except that the tribes Parnasiini and Zerynthiini (both Parnassiinae) are not in the same cluster.

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