Ian Kitching

Ian Kitching
Natural History Museum, London · Department of Life Sciences

PhD & DIC, Imperial College

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207
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October 1984 - present
Natural History Museum, London

Publications

Publications (207)
Preprint
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Caterpillars of the Neotropical genus Lonomia (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) are responsible for some fatal envenomation of humans in South America inducing hemostatic disturbances in patients upon skin contact with the caterpillars' spines. Currently, only two species have been reported to cause hemorrhagic syndromes in humans: Lonomia achelous and Lo...
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Hawkmoths are among the most popular insects but have received little attention in the Philippines over the last two decades. This study took advantage of the photographic records of hawkmoths available on two online social network platforms: iNaturalist and Philippine Lepidoptera. From these data sources, we created a preliminary species checklist...
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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...
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Although the Sphingidae (hawkmoths) of Paraguay are moderately well-known, comprehensive publications on the fauna are few and far between, and there is no modern taxonomic and biogeographical overview of the available data against which future researchers could work. Here we compile existing published data and review important national collections...
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The wild silkmoth genus Samia Hübner, 1819 (Saturniidae) contains a number of economically important species in industrial silk production. However, the interspecific relationships within the genus remain unclear. We sequence the mitogenomes of Samia watsoni Oberthür, 1914 and Samia wangi Naumann & Peigler, 2001. Both mitogenomes are annotated and...
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A bstract Wild silkmoths (Saturniidae) are one of the most emblematic and most studied families of moths. Yet, the absence of a robust phylogenetic framework based on a comprehensive taxonomic sampling impedes our understanding of their evolutionary history. We analyzed 1,024 ultraconserved elements (UCEs) and their flanking regions to infer the re...
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• Global insect decline has recently become a cause for major concern, particularly in the tropics where the vast majority of species occurs. Deforestation is suggested as being a major driver of this decline, but how anthropogenic changes in landscape structure affect tropical insect communities has rarely been addressed. • We sampled Saturniidae...
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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...
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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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The western Palaearctic species of the hawkmoth genus Hyles (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) have long been the subject of molecular phylogenetic research. However, much less attention has been paid to the taxa inhabiting the central and eastern Palaearctic, particularly Central Asia, where almost 50% of the species diversity of the genus occurs. Yet, man...
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To date, a relatively complete classification of Sphingidae (Lepidoptera) has been generated, but the phylogeny of the family remains need to be fully resolved. Some phylogenetic relationships within Sphingidae still remains uncertain, especially the taxonomic status of the subfamily Langiinae and its sole included genus and species, Langia zenzero...
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Three new species of the hawkmoth genus Xylophanes Hübner, 1819 from Colombia are described based on morphological characters and DNA barcodes: Xylophanes camilae Correa-Carmona & Giusti sp. n., Xylophanes pijao Giusti & CorreaCarmona sp. n., and Xylophanes tayrona Correa-Carmona & Giusti sp. n. The new species are compared with the most morphologi...
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Herbivorous insects represent a major fraction of global biodiversity and the relationships they have established with their food plants range from strict specialists to broad generalists. Our knowledge of these relationships is of primary importance to basic (e.g. the study of insect ecology and evolution) and applied biology (e.g. monitoring of p...
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One new species of Dinetus is described and illustrated: D. hameri Notton sp.n. from the United Arab Emirates; D. politus stat. rev. is raised in rank to a full species (formerly a subspecies of D. cereolus). Two new subgenera are described: Dentidinetus Olszewski, Notton & Kitching subg.n. and Venustidinetus Olszewski, Notton & Kitching subg.n. an...
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Full-text available
Herbivorous insects represent a major fraction of global biodiversity and the relationships they have established with their food plants range from strict specialists to broad generalists. Our knowledge of these relationships is of primary importance to basic (e.g. the study of insect ecology and evolution) and applied biology (e.g. monitoring of p...
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Molecular phylogenetic studies suggest that similar wing and body patterns in the hawkmoth genus Hyles Hübner, [1819] do not necessarily reflect a close phylogenetic relationship. To improve our understanding of morphological evolution in these organisms, 75 characters derived from the external adult morphology are explicitly coded and analysed in...
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The hawkmoth genus Rhodafra comprises two African species with unclear relationships, as their wing patterns are markedly different, with one species closely resembling species of a related genus, Hyles. The present paper aims to investigate the monophyly and phylogenetic position of Rhodafra in relation to Hyles and other genera of the subtribe Ch...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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In a recent paper in ZooKeys, Wiemers et al. (2018) provided an updated list of European butterfly names. In this list the authors follow gender agreement for species names, when interpreted as adjectival in derivation, in contrast to the common practice among most lepidopterists. Here we comment on this aspect of the paper, and voice our concern t...
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The interface between populations and evolving young species continues to generate much contemporary debate in systematics depending on the species concept(s) applied but which ultimately reduces to the fundamental question of "when do non-discrete entities become distinct, mutually exclusive evolutionary units"? Species are perceived as critical b...
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The interface between populations and evolving young species continues to generate much contemporary debate in systematics depending on the species concept(s) applied but which ultimately reduces to the fundamental question of "when do non-discrete entities become distinct, mutually exclusive evolutionary units"? Species are perceived as critical b...
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Aim We mapped the geographical pattern of body sizes in sphingid moths and investigated latitudinal clines. We tested hypotheses concerning their possible environmental control, that is, effects of temperature (negative: temperature size rule or Bergmann's rule; positive: converse Bergmann rule), food availability, robustness to starvation during e...
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Kanyakumari District is situated at the southernmost tip of peninsular India in Tamil Nadu State and is bounded by the Western Ghats and the coasts of three seas. There are no detailed historical records of the moths of this region, which, before India’s independence, was part of Travancore State. This paper presents a brief account of the 27 speci...
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Aim We test hypotheses on the environmental control of elevational richness patterns of sphingid moths for their global applicability and generality. Specifically, we compare effects of area with climate‐related drivers, such as primary productivity and temperature, while also considering direct effects of precipitation. Major taxa Sphingid moths...
Preprint
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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...
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The range size of species co-occurring in local assemblages is a pivotal variable in assessments of a site’s conservation value. Assemblages featuring many small-ranged species are given more priority than assemblages consisting mainly of wide-ranging species. However, the assembly of relevant information can be challenging and local range size dis...
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Background Bombycoidea is an ecologically diverse and speciose superfamily of Lepidoptera. The superfamily includes many model organisms, but the taxonomy and classification of the superfamily has remained largely in disarray. Here we present a global checklist of Bombycoidea. Following Zwick (2008) and Zwick et al. (2011), ten families are recogni...
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The sesiid moth, Akaisphecia melanopuncta O. Gorbunov & Arita, 1995, is recorded from Thailand for the first time, having originally been described from Vietnam and subsequently recorded from Laos. Photographs of a living individual are presented that illustrate that in life it is a very good mimic of red-and-black aposematic Hemiptera (Heteroptera...
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The Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK) has embarked on an ambitious programme to digitise its collections. The first phase of this programme was to undertake a series of pilot projects to develop the workflows and infrastructure needed to support mass digitisation of very large scientific collections. This paper presents the results of one of t...
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Full-text available
The Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK) has embarked on an ambitious programme to digitise its collections. The first phase of this programme was to undertake a series of pilot projects to develop the workflows and infrastructure needed to support mass digitisation of very large scientific collections. This paper presents the results of one of t...
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A new species of the genus Theretra Hübner [1819], Theretra shendurneensis sp. nov., is described from Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, southern Western Ghats, India, based on external and internal morphology, and genetic markers. The new species is compared in external and male genital morphology, genetic divergence and geographic range with three s...
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Aim To map the spatial variation of range sizes within sphingid moths, and to test hypotheses on its environmental control. In particular, we investigate effects of climate change velocity since the Pleistocene and the mid‐Holocene, temperature and precipitation seasonality, topography, Pleistocene ice cover, and available land area. Location Old...
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Analysing historic DNA from museum specimens offers the unique opportunity to study the molecular systematics and phylogenetics of rare and possibly extinct taxa. In the Hawaiian fauna, the hawkmoth, Hyles calida calida, occurs on several of the main islands and is quite frequent, whereas Hyles c. hawaiiensis is restricted to the Island of Hawaii w...
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Three high-elevation Hyles species of Central Asia have proven difficult to sample, and thus, only a limited number of specimens are available for study. Ancient DNA techniques were applied to sequence two mitochondrial genes from ‘historic’ museum specimens of Hyles gallii, Hyles renneri and Hyles salangensis to elucidate the phylogenetic relation...
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The first confirmed records of Oxyteninae (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae) from Paraguay are presented herein. Two specimens from Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca (San Pedro) are assigned to Oxytenis modaustralis Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014.
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The first confirmed records of Oxyteninae (Lepidoptera, Saturniidae) from Paraguay are presented herein. Two specimens from Reserva Natural Laguna Blanca (San Pedro) are assigned to Oxytenis modaustralis Brechlin, Meister & Käch, 2014. © 2016, Soc Hispano-Luso-Amer Lepidopterologia-Shilap. All rights reserved.
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The aim of this study was to produce the first objective and comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the speciose subgenus Culex based on morphological data. We used implied and equally weighted parsimony methods to analyse a dataset comprised of 286 characters of the larval, pupal, and adult stages of 150 species of the subgenus and an outgroup of...
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Background The Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK) has embarked on an ambitious programme to digitise its collections . The first phase of this programme has been to undertake a series of pilot projects that will develop the necessary workflows and infrastructure development needed to support mass digitisation of very large scientific collection...
Data
List of butterfly species in the NHMUK British and Irish Collections
Article
Despite their vast diversity and vital ecological role, insects are notoriously underrepresented in biogeography and conservation, and key broad-scale ecological hypotheses about them remain untested - largely due to generally incomplete and very coarse spatial distribution knowledge. Integrating records from publications, field work and natural hi...
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1. A major challenge in evolutionary ecology is to understand how coevolutionary processes shape patterns of interactions between species at community level. Pollination of flowers with long corolla tubes by long-tongued hawkmoths has been invoked as a showcase model of coevolution. Recently, optimal foraging models have predicted that there might...
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The evolution of anopheline mosquitoes (Culicidae: Anophelinae) has been the subject of speculation and study for decades, but a comprehensive phylogeny of these insects is far from complete. The results of phylogenetic studies based on morphological and molecular data sets are conspicuously ambiguous. Here, we revisit the phylogenetic relationship...
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Manduca exiguus (Gehlen, 1942) stat. n. was first described as a subspecies of Manduca lucetius (Cramer, 1780), but later considered as a junior synonym of Manduca contracta (Butler, 1875). Here, we compare the two taxa and demonstrate the validity of M. exiguus as a species on the basis of a distinctive habitus and diferences in the male genitalia...
Chapter
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The moth family Sphingidae (hawkmoths, sphinx moths) has a cosmopolitan distribution. The adults range in size from small to very large and are generally nocturnal in activity, when they play an important ecological role as pollinators. The caterpillars are also noticeable for the large size many can reach and for the conspicuous caudal horn presen...
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Main Objective We examine the extent of taxonomic and biogeographical uncertainty in a well-studied group of Australian Lepidoptera, the hawkmoths (Sphingidae). Methods We analysed the diversity of Australian sphingids through the comparative analysis of their DNA barcodes, supplemented by morphological re-examinations and sequence information fro...
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This study represents the first complete modern account of the Sphingidae of Pakistan and takes the form of an annotated checklist, based on several national collections and those of a number of individuals. Of the 60 species and subspecies found, 14 are new records to the fauna of Pakistan, namely Agnosia orneus, Langia zenzeroides subsp. zenzeroi...
Article
Since its first application to the field more than 10 years ago, micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) has been a state-of-the-art technology in the study of insect morphology and anatomy. Despite showing great potential for various types of non-destructive ‘dissections’, the method has, however, seen very limited use in descriptive taxonomy. Here w...
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The type series of the hawkmoth Clanis hyperion Cadiou & Kitching, 1990 comprised a holotype male and a paratype series of 17 males and six females captured at various locations in northwestern Thailand between 1988 and 1989 (Cadiou & Kitching 1990). Additional non-type materials comprised a further three males and one female from northwestern Thai...