Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny 75(3): 363-371, doi: 10.3897/asp.75.e31912
Connecting the dots: Spots and bands on the wings of Lichenaula Meyrick, 1890 (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Xyloryctidae) share a uniform relationship with wing venation
expand article infoSandra R. Schachat
‡ Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, United States of America
Open Access
Recent studies have shown that wing pattern in various lineages of microlepidoptera follows one of two predictive models. In the first, called the “alternating wing-margin” model, dark and light pattern elements straddle alternating veins along the costal margin of the wing. In the second, called the “uniform wing-margin” model, pattern elements of a single color straddle all veins along the costa. However, of the dozens of families and superfamilies of moths, a small minority have been studied in this context. In the present contribution, the relationship between wing pattern and wing venation is examined in Lichenaula Meyrick, 1890 (Gelechioidea: Xyloryctidae). Species of Lichenaula have wing pattern elements ranging from spots to bands to mottled textures, and they all conform to the uniform wing-margin model. No plausible support was found for the alternating wing-margin model. In previous studies, the relationship between pattern and venation along the dorsal wing margin has remained unclear due to loss of wing veins and confluence of pattern elements, but certain species of Lichenaula, especially L. maculosa (Turner, 1898), provide evidence that the uniform wing-margin model holds for the dorsum as well as the costa. Previous studies have found that ancestral wing veins continue to influence the development of wing patterns that follow the alternating wing-margin model, even if not expressed in the adult wing, but the wing patterns of Lichenaula suggest that this is not the case for the uniform wing-margin model. Instead, it appears that the only veins that determine the development of wing pattern in Lichenaula are those that are expressed in the adult wing. Considered in preliminary phylogenetic context, it appears that multiple transitions have occurred between the ancestral alternating wing-margin model and the more derived uniform wing-margin model.
Color pattern, development, evolution, homology, microlepidoptera, morphology, scales