, Volume 53, Issue 17, pp 2652-2658

Estimating divergence times among subfamilies in Nymphalidae

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Abstract

The mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and the nuclear elongation factor 1α (EF-1α) gene were sequenced from 13 species of Nymphalidae. Phylogenetic trees of Nymphalidae, which is the largest family in butterflies, were constructed based on the sequences determined from 13 species sequenced in our laboratory and an additional 43 species obtained from GenBank using the maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian methods. Relative-rate tests between lineages in these phylogenetic trees were performed. On the basis of the results of the relative-rate tests and fossil information of Satyrinae, Nymphalinae and Biblidinae, the average divergence times among the subfamilies are estimated as 44.2–87.1 million years ago (Ma). These results will be helpful for better understanding of the origin and evolution of this family, as well as the divergence time of butterflies and other complex taxa.

Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 30570247 & 30670361), National Infrastructure of Natural Resources for Science and Technology (Grant No. 2005DKA21403), National Talent Training Fund in Basic Research of China (Grant No. J0630643) and Natural Science Foundation of Shanxi Province (Grant No. 2006011075)