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The biology and molecular ecology of Oreixenica and related southeast Australian Satyrinae


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Anderson, RAL 2010 , 'The biology and molecular ecology of Oreixenica and related southeast Australian Satyrinae', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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In the Australian region, the family Nymphalidae contributes one fifth of the butterfly
fauna, with the endemic species and genera all belonging to the subfamily Satyrinae,
which is most diverse in the south eastern part of the continent. Here, extensive
geographical variation has developed in the phenotype of many satyrines. This is best
illustrated in the genus Oreixenica, which is endemic to the cooler parts of southeast
This thesis comprehensively examines the relationships of a cross section of five genera
and fourteen species from this group. New morphological data from the eggs and
genitalia of these taxa are provided and used to test existing hypotheses of relationships.
On this basis, it can be shown that the southeast Australian Satyrinae conform to a
monophyletic group.
Further evidence was sought from molecular data. Sequence data from three genes: the
mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit 1 gene (C01), the nuclear Elongation
Factor 1a (EF-1a) protein-coding gene, and the nuclear Wingless gene, were utilised to
construct a phylogeny of twelve satyrine species plus two nymphalid outgroup genera.
Phylogenetic trees derived from all data sets recovered very similar, well-supported
relationships. The major findings from these analyses are: the temperate zone southeast
Australian Satyrinae are indeed a monophyletic group based upon molecular evidence;
the Heteronympha clade is sister to the Oreixenica clade; 0. latialis from the Australian
Alps is the sister species to the Tasmanian endemic 0. ptunarra; H cordace is derived
from the ancestor of H penelope and H merope; and, G. klugii is placed basally within
the group. Estimated ages of divergence for the taxa are presented and these are related
to the broad evolutionary history of the expansion of native grasslands in southern
Whilst these results have implications for the conservation management of Australian
Satyrinae, particular attention is focussed on the threatened Tasmanian 0. ptunarra,
which has a fragmented and restricted distribution. Since European settlement a
considerable reduction and modification of O. ptunarra habitat has occurred,
particularly throughout the Midlands, a major agricultural region. The genetic
relationships between sampled populations suggest that O. ptunarra does broadly
interact within the traditional subspecies ranges, and some populations are becoming
increasingly genetically isolated particularly in the Midlands and eastern regions of
Tasmania. This detail is presently overlooked in current management plans and
conservation efforts which are opportunistic in their approach to butterfly protection.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Anderson, RAL
Keywords: Butterflies, Satyridae, Nymphalidae
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2010 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
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Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. General introduction -- Ch. 2. Adult morphology -- Ch. 3. The immature stages of Oreixenica with notes on associated temperate zone southeast Australian Satyrinae -- Ch. 4. Molecular relationships of the temperate zone southeast Australian Satyrinae -- Ch. 5. Propositions for understanding the phylogeny and evolutionary history of temperate zone southeast Australian Satyrinae -- Ch. 6. Population management of Oreixenica ptunarra -- Ch. 7. Concluding comments

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