Akito Kawahara

Akito Kawahara
University of Florida | UF · Department of Natural History

Doctor of Philosophy

About

316
Publications
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6,478
Citations

Publications

Publications (316)
Article
We present a genome assembly from an individual female Zygaena filipendulae (6-spot burnet; Arthropoda; Insecta; Lepidoptera; Zygaenidae). The genome sequence is 365.9 megabases in span. The majority of the assembly (99.99%) is scaffolded into 31 chromosomal pseudomolecules, with the W and Z sex chromosomes assembled. The complete mitochondrial gen...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we present the largest, global dataset of Lepidopteran traits, focusing initially on butterflies (ca. 12,500 species records). These traits are derived from field guides, taxonomic treatments, and other literature resources. We present traits on wing size, phenology,voltinism, diapause/overwintering stage, hostplant associations, and habitat...
Article
Warning signals are well known in the visual system, but rare in other modalities. Some moths produce ultrasonic sounds to warn bats of noxious taste or to mimic unpalatable models. Here, we report results from a long-term study across the globe, assaying moth response to playback of bat echolocation. We tested 252 genera, spanning most families of...
Preprint
Insect silk is an incredibly versatile biomaterial. Lepidoptera and their sister lineage, Trichoptera, display some of the most diverse uses of silk with varying strength, adhesive qualities and elastic properties. It is well known that silk fibroin genes are long (> 20 kb) and have many repetitive motifs. These features make these genes challengin...
Article
Full-text available
Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are known for having an array of antipredator defenses associated with their wing patterns and color, and they have long been considered model organisms for studies on animal mimicry. One of the most fascinating examples of mimicry in the animal kingdom is that of ‘false heads’ — structures that resemble cranial...
Preprint
Butterflies are a diverse and charismatic insect group that are thought to have diversified via coevolution with plants and in response to dispersals following key geological events. These hypotheses have been poorly tested at the macroevolutionary scale because a comprehensive phylogenetic framework and datasets on global distributions and larval...
Article
The regions of the Andes and Caribbean-Mesoamerica are both hypothesized to be the cradle for many Neotropical lineages, but few studies have fully investigated the dynamics and interactions between Neotropical bioregions. The New World hawkmoth genus Xylophanes is the most taxono-mically diverse genus in the Sphingidae, with the highest endemism a...
Article
Characterising the frequency and timing of biological processes such as locomotion, eclosion or foraging, is often needed to get a complete picture of a species' ecology. Automated trackers are an invaluable tool for high‐throughput collection of activity data and have become more accurate and efficient with advances in computer vision and deep lea...
Article
Across insects, wing shape and size have undergone dramatic divergence even in closely related sister groups. However, we do not know how morphology changes in tandem with kinematics to support body weight within available power and how the specific force production patterns are linked to differences in behaviour. Hawkmoths and wild silkmoths are d...
Article
One of the key objectives in biological research is understanding how evolutionary processes have produced Earth's diversity. A critical step towards revealing these processes is an investigation of evolutionary tradeoffs – that is, the opposing pressures of multiple selective forces. For millennia, nocturnal moths have had to balance successful fl...
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Full-text available
Reconstructing a robust phylogenetic framework is key to understanding the ecology and evolution of many economically important taxa. The crambid moth genus Ostrinia contains multiple agricultural pests, and its classification and phylogeny has remained controversial because of the paucity of characters and the lack of clear morphological boundarie...
Article
Full-text available
The global increase in species richness toward the tropics across continents and taxonomic groups, referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient, stimulated the formulation of many hypotheses to explain the underlying mechanisms of this pattern. We evaluate several of these hypotheses to explain spatial diversity patterns in a butterfly family,...
Article
Anthropogenic noise has received considerable recent attention, but we know little about the role that sources of natural noise have on wildlife abundance and distributions. Rivers and streams represent an ancient source of natural noise that is widespread and covers much of Earth. We sought to understand the role that whitewater river noise plays...
Data
Supplemental file for paper "Experimental river noise alters arthropod abundance" published in Oikos at https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.08499. See data and code upload here: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4563734
Preprint
Full-text available
Warning signals are well known in the visual system, but rare in other modalities. Some moths produce ultrasonic sounds to warn bats of noxious taste or to mimic unpalatable models. Here we report results from a long-term study across the globe, assaying moth response to playback of bat echolocation. We tested 252 genera, spanning most families of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Advances in computer vision and deep learning have automated animal behaviour studies that previously required tedious manual input. However, tracking activity of small and fast flying animals remains a hurdle, especially in a field setting with variable light conditions. Commercial locomotor activity monitors (LAMs) can be expensive, closed source...
Article
The evolution of flapping flight is linked to the prolific success of insects. Across Insecta, wing morphology diversified, strongly impacting aerodynamic performance. In the presence of ecological opportunity, discrete adaptive shifts and early bursts are two processes hypothesized to give rise to exceptional morphological diversification. Here, w...
Article
Lepidoptera are a highly diverse group of herbivorous insects, however, some superfamilies have relatively few species. Two alternative hypotheses for drivers of Lepidoptera diversity are shifts in food plant use or shifts from concealed to external feeding as larvae. Many studies address the former hypothesis, but with bias towards externally feed...
Preprint
Full-text available
The evolution of flapping flight is linked to the prolific success of insects. Across Insecta, wing morphology diversified, strongly impacting aerodynamic performance. In the presence of ecological opportunity, discrete adaptive shifts and early bursts are two processes hypothesized to give rise to exceptional morphological diversification. Here, w...
Article
Full-text available
Background The availability of thousands of genomes has enabled new advancements in biology. However, many genomes have not been investigated for their quality. Here we examine quality trends in a taxonomically diverse and well-known group, butterflies (Papilionoidea), and provide draft, de novo assemblies for all available butterfly genomes. Owing...
Article
Full-text available
Male butterflies in the hyperdiverse tribe Eumaeini possess an unusually complex and diverse repertoire of secondary sexual characteristics involved in pheromone production and dissemination. Maintaining multiple sexually selected traits is likely to be metabolically costly, potentially resulting in trade-offs in the evolution of male signals. Howe...
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Full-text available
Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the most studied, diverse, and widespread animal groups, making them an ideal model for climate change research. They are a particularly informative model for studying the effects of climate change on species ecology because they are ectotherms that thermoregulate with a suite of physiological, behavio...
Article
Amateur butterfly and moth collectors in the United States have procured more Lepidoptera specimens than professional scientists. The advent of large government-supported database efforts has made a quantitative examination of the impact of amateur collecting of these insects possible. We reviewed trends in Lepidoptera collecting since 1800, using...
Article
Philodoria Walsingham, 1907 is a threatened, Hawaiian endemic genus of leaf-mining gracillariid moths that feeds as larvae on many threatened and endangered Hawaiian endemic plants. These moths are poorly studied and species lack detailed descriptions of morphology, distribution data, and natural history information of adults and immatures. Based o...
Article
Full-text available
Broad-scale, quantitative assessments of insect biodiversity and the factors shaping it remain particularly poorly explored. Here we undertook a spatial phylogenetic analysis of North American butterflies to test whether climate stability and temperature gradients have shaped their diversity and endemism. We also performed the first quantitative co...
Article
Full-text available
Opsins, combined with a chromophore, are the primary light-sensing molecules in animals and are crucial for color vision. Throughout animal evolution, duplications and losses of opsin proteins are common, but it is unclear what is driving these gains and losses. Light availability is implicated, and dim environments are often associated with low op...
Preprint
A wide diversity of wing shapes has evolved, but how is aerodynamic strategy coupled to morphological variation? Here we examine how wing shape has evolved across a phylogenetic split between hawkmoths (Sphingidae) and wild silkmoths (Saturniidae), which have divergent life histories, but agile flight behaviors. Combined with kinematics of exemplar...
Article
The mimallonid genus Roelofa is revised. It is the only genus belonging to the recently erected subfamily, Roelofinae. Both sexes and genitalia are figured for all previously described species in the genus, and all are redescribed. The species Roelofa maera stat. rev. is no longer considered a synonym of R. narga based on morphological differences....
Article
Skippers are a species rich and widespread group of butterflies with evolutionary patterns and processes largely unstudied despite some recent efforts. Among Hesperiidae, the subfamily Heteropterinae is a moderately diverse clade comprising ca. 200 species distributed from North to South America and from Africa to the Palearctic region. While some...
Article
The Old-World Tropics encompass many unique biomes and associated biotas shaped by drastic climate and geological changes throughout the Cenozoic. Disjunct distributions of clades between the Afrotropics and the Oriental regions are testament to these changes. Awl and policeman skippers (Hesperiidae: Coeliadinae) are disjunctly distributed with som...
Article
Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms governing the uneven distribution of species richness across the tree of life is a great challenge in biology. Scientists have long argued that sexual conflict is a key driver of speciation. This hypothesis, however, has been highly debated in light of empirical evidence. Recent advances in the study of mac...
Preprint
Full-text available
Broad-scale quantitative assessments of biodiversity and the factors shaping it remain particularly poorly explored in insects. Here, we undertook a spatial phylogenetic analysis of North American butterflies via assembly of a time-calibrated phylogeny of the region coupled with a unique, complete range assessment for ~75% of the known species. We...
Article
The butterfly tribe Candalidini is geographically restricted to Australia and mainland New Guinea and its adjacent islands. With 60 species and subspecies, it represents a large radiation of Papilionoidea in the Australian region. Although the species‐level taxonomy is relatively well understood, the number of genera is uncertain, varying from two...
Preprint
Full-text available
A bstract One of the key objectives in biological research is understanding how evolutionary processes have produced Earth’s biodiversity. These processes have led to a vast diversity of wing shapes in insects; an unanswered question especially pronounced in moths. As one of the major predators of nocturnal moths, bats are thought to have been invo...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of cicinnine Mimallonidae, Cicinnus chambersi sp. nov., is described from the Sky Islands Region of southern Arizona, USA. The new species is closely related to C. mexicana (Druce), type locality Veracruz, Mexico, based on morphology and genetics. The other Cicinnus species known from the United States, the common C. melsheimeri (type...
Preprint
Full-text available
The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is arguably one of the most striking patterns in nature. The global increase in species richness toward the tropics across continents and taxonomic groups stimulated the formulation of many hypotheses to explain the underlying mechanisms of this pattern. We evaluated several of these hypotheses to explain sp...
Article
The complex forces that shape butterfly wings have long been a subject of experimental and comparative research. Butterflies use their wings for flight, camouflage, mate recognition, warning and mimicry. However, general patterns and correlations among wing shape and size evolution are still poorly understood. We collected geometric morphometric me...
Article
Phylogenomics is progressing rapidly, allowing large strides forward into our understanding of the tree of life. In this study, we generated transcriptomes from ethanol-preserved specimens of 13 tiger beetle species (Coleoptera: Cicindelinae) and one Scaritinae outgroup. From these 14 transcriptomes and seven publicly available transcriptomes, we r...
Article
Predators can induce extreme stress and profound physiological responses in prey. Insects are the most dominant animal group on Earth and serve as prey for many different predators. Although insects have an extraordinary diversity of anti-predator behavioral and physiological responses, predator-induced stress has not been studied extensively in in...
Article
The frenulum is a wing coupling structure that is found on the wings of most families of Lepidoptera. It is a single bristle or set of bristles that originate from the base of the hindwing that often interlocks with the forewing during flight. This wing coupling mechanism is thought to have been a major evolutionary innovation that allowed for enha...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Silkmoths and their relatives constitute the ecologically and taxonomically diverse superfamily Bombycoidea, which includes some of the most charismatic species of Lepidoptera. Despite displaying spectacular forms and diverse ecological traits, relatively little attention has been given to understanding their evolution and drivers of t...
Article
Full-text available
Over 300 million arthropod specimens are housed in North American natural history collections. These collections represent a “vast hidden treasure trove” of biodiversity −95% of the specimen label data have yet to be transcribed for research, and less than 2% of the specimens have been imaged. Specimen labels contain crucial information to determin...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The sky islands of southeastern Arizona (AZ) mark a major transition zone between tropical and temperate biota and are considered a neglected biodiversity hotspot. Dispersal ability and host plant specificity are thought to impact the history and diversity of insect populations across the sky islands. We aimed to investigate the population...
Article
Full-text available
Ambulycini are a cosmopolitan tribe of the moth family Sphingidae, comprised of 10 genera, 3 of which are found in tropical Asia, 4 in the Neotropics, 1 in Africa, 1 in the Middle East, and 1 restricted to the islands of New Caledonia. Recent phylogenetic analyses of the tribe have yielded conflicting results, and some have suggested a close relati...
Article
Full-text available
Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the major super-radiations of insects, comprising nearly 160,000 described extant species. As herbivores, pollinators, and prey, Lepidoptera play a fundamental role in almost every terrestrial ecosystem. Lepidoptera are also indicators of environmental change and serve as models for research on mimicry...
Article
The origin of taxa presenting a disjunct distribution between Africa and Asia has puzzled biogeographers for more than a century. This biogeographic pattern has been hypothesized to be the result of transoceanic long‐distance dispersal, Oligocene dispersal through forested corridors, Miocene dispersal through the Arabian Peninsula or passive disper...
Article
Within the Lepidoptera, diurnal adult behavior is more often associated with butterflies than moths. However, many moth species are also known to have adults that fly during the day, and the lack of diel activity data for moths can be attributed to limited natural history observations. Moths belonging to Mimallonidae Burmeister are one such example...
Data
Example insect natural history data (PDF document)
Data
Ontology competency questions, user domains or groups, and example use cases
Data
Example insect natural history data (CSV file)
Article
Full-text available
Insects are possibly the most taxonomically and ecologically diverse class of multicellular organisms on Earth. Consequently, they provide nearly unlimited opportunities to develop and test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses. Currently, however, large-scale studies of insect ecology, behavior, and trait evolution are impeded by the difficulty i...
Article
Sexual reproduction is often associated with intra- and intersexual conflict, especially in species where females mate multiple times. A strategy that has evolved in males to ensure offspring paternity is the ability to produce a complex, external mating plug called a sphragis. The sphragis has been found in 273 butterfly species; however, little i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The silkmoths and their relatives constitute the ecologically and taxonomically diverse superfamily Bombycoidea, which includes some of the most charismatic species of Lepidoptera. Despite displaying some of the most spectacular forms and ecological traits among insects, relatively little attention has been given to understanding their e...
Article
Full-text available
A backbone molecular phylogeny of Mimallonidae, based on 47 species and 515 loci, was recently published. That study resolved some of the major relationships in the family, but taxon sampling was limited and a classification of the family was not formally presented for all species. Here morphological phylogenetic analyses in parsimony and maximum l...