Genes & Genomics

, Volume 40, Issue 10, pp 1011–1022 | Cite as

The complete mitochondrial genome of Vanessa indica and phylogenetic analyses of the family Nymphalidae

  • Youxue Lu
  • Naiyi Liu
  • Liuxiang Xu
  • Jie Fang
  • Shuyan Wang
Research Article


Vanessa indica is a small butterfly lacking historical molecular and biological research. Vanessa indica belongs to the family Nymphalidae (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea), which is the largest group of butterflies and are nearly ubiquitous. However, after more than a century of taxonomic and molecular studies, there is no consensus for family classification, and the phylogenetic relationships within Nymphalidae are controversial. The first objective was to sequence and characterize the complete mitochondrial genome of V. indica. The most important objective was to completely reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships for family members within Nymphalidae. The mitochondrial genomic DNA (mtDNA) of V. indica was extracted and amplified by polymerase chain reaction. The complete mitochondrial sequence was annotated and characterized by analyzing sequences with SeqMan program. The phylogenetic analyses were conducted on thirteen protein coding genes (PCGs) in 95 mtDNA of Nymphalidae downloaded from GenBank for reference using the maximum likelihood method and Bayesian inference to ensure the validity of the results. The complete mitogenome was a circular molecule with 15,191 bp consisting of 13 protein coding genes, two ribosomal RNA genes (16S rRNA and 12S rRNA), 22 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes, and an A + T-rich region (D-loop). The nucleotide composition of the genome was highly biased for A + T content, which accounts for 80.0% of the nucleotides. All the tRNAs have putative secondary structures that are characteristic of mitochondrial tRNAs, except tRNASer(AGN). All the PCGs started with ATN codons, except cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COX1), which was found to start with an unusual CGA codon. Four genes were observed to have unusual codons: COX1 terminated with atypical TT and the other three genes terminated with a single T. The A + T rich region of 327 bp consisted of repetitive sequences, including a ATAGA motif, a 19-bp poly-T stretch, and two microsatellite-like regions (TA)8. The phylogenetic analyses consistently placed Biblidinae as a sister cluster to Heliconiinae and Calinaginae as a sister clade to Satyrinae. Moreover, the phylogenetic tree identified Libytheinae as a monophyletic group within Nymphalidae. The complete mitogenome of V. indica was 15,191 bp with mitochondrial characterizations common for lepidopteran species, which enriched the mitochondria data of Nymphalid species. And the phylogenetic analysis revealed different classifications and relationships than those previously described. Our results are significant because they would be useful in further understanding of the evolutionary biology of Nymphalidae.


Vanessa indica Mitochondrial genome Nymphalidae Phylogenetic analyses 



We wish to express our appreciations to Yun-he Wu, University of China Academy of Science, Wen-bo Li, Anhui University, for assistance during the experiment, corrections and comments regarding this manuscript. This study was sponsored by the Undergraduate student innovation and entrepreneurship training projects of Anhui University (J10118516034). The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Youxue Lu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Naiyi Liu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Liuxiang Xu declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jie Fang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Shuyan Wang declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The article does not contain any studies with human subjects or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

13258_2018_709_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Genetics Society of Korea and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life ScienceAnhui UniversityHefeiChina

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