Evolution and Systematics
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
Phylogenetic relationships as inferred from DNA sequences by Leneveu et al. (2009). The topology is based on the strict consensus of results from parsimony analysis (their Fig. 2A). Note that in the original figure, different individuals of Melitaea didyma appear in four different places on the tree: as sister to M. ninae, sister to (M. ninae + M. didyma + M. chitralensis + M. enarea), sister to M. latonigi, and in the polytomy with M. saxatilis, etc. The position indicated here is the Adams compromise (most basal node including all representatives). The polyphyly of the "species" suggests that M. didyma may be a complex of similar-looking species (or that all the other "species" in the clade are variable populations of M. didyma.
Taxa not included in the Leneveu et al. study are indicated as incertae sedis associated with their putative species groups.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:1179
Specimens with Barcodes:1131
Species With Barcodes:101
As delimited here, Melitaea includes the genus Mellicta, making the subtribe Melitaeina monotypic (but see below). For long, it was believed that Mellicta was a junior objective synonym of Melitaea, sharing the same type species (the Glanville Fritillary, M. cinxia). This was in error, however; the type species of Mellicta is actually the Heath Fritillary (M. athalia), making the two taxa junior subjective synonyms and thus eligible to be separated again. However, several other taxa are in fact objective synonyms (or at least have type specimens belonging to the same biological species) of Melitaea and Mellicta – Schoenis and the preoccupied Lucina and Melinaea for the former, Athaliaeformia for the latter.
As noted above, Mellicta is considered to be a subgenus of Melitaea for the time being. The rationale is that even though the Melitaeina may not be monotypic, they do not seem to consist of just two genera (Melitaea and Mellicta) either, and recognition of Mellicta appears to leave Melitaea paraphyletic; consequently, other lineages would need elevation to distinct genus status also. As long as it is not fully known which species groups and/or subgenera warrant recognition as full genera, they are all retained in the present genus.
In the following list, species-group/subgenus affiliation and type species are annotated. In the sensu lato circumscription used here, Melitaea contains almost 90 species. Most being assignable to one of the 5 groups/subgenera, there are a few that cannot be clearly placed with one of these at present:
- Melitaea kunlunensis Kudrna & Mracek, 1994
- Melitaea oorschoti Eckweiler, 2008
- Melitaea paludani Clench & Shoumatoff, 1956
- Melitaea tangigharuensis de Freina, 1980
- Melitaea wiltshirei Higgins, 1941
- Pitkin & Jenkins (2004ab), FE (2009), and see references in Haaramo (2010, 2011)
- See references in Haaramo (2010, 2011)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Melitaea.|
- Fauna Europaea (FE) (2009): Melitaea. Version 2.1, 2009-DEC-22. Retrieved 2011-FEB-09.
- Pitkin, Brian & Jenkins, Paul (2004a): Butterflies and Moths of the World, Generic Names and their Type-species – Melitaea. Version of 2004-NOV-05. Retrieved 2011-FEB-09.
- Pitkin, Brian & Jenkins, Paul (2004b): Butterflies and Moths of the World, Generic Names and their Type-species – Mellicta. Version of 2004-NOV-05. Retrieved 2011-FEB-09.
- Savela, Markku (2009): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Mellicta. Version of 2009-AUG-17. Retrieved 2011-FEB-09.
- Savela, Markku (2010): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Melitaea. Version of 2010-MAY-02. Retrieved 2011-FEB-09.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!