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The European Peacock Butterfly, Aglais io (Linnaeus, 1758) in North America (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

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The European Peacock Butterfly, Aglais io (Linnaeus, 1758) in North America (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)

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128
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Fall 2018
News of e Lepidopterists’ Society Volume 60, Number 3
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Aglais io is a widespread Palaearctic buttery that
ranges from Europe to Japan (Higgins & Riley 1970).
Described as Papilio io by Linnaeus, it was placed under
its own monotypic genus Inachis by Hübner (1819) and
known as such for a long time, until recent molecular
evidence suggested the synonymy of Inachis with Aglais
(Wahlberg & Nylin 2003). Beside the nominal subspecies
widespread throughout its range, Aglais io has two other
localized subspecies: A. io ssp. caucasica (Jachontov
1912) found in the Caucasus mountains, and A. io ssp.
geisha (Stichel 1908) in Japan and the Russian Far East.
The rst specimen of Aglais io in North America was
collected on Île Charron, Québec, on 13th of May 1997 by
Jacques Leclerc, an amateur collector from Montréal. A
female specimen in very good condition was seen basking
in the sun with its wings open on a fallen tree trunk in a
eld near a wooded area before it was captured (Handeld
1999). At the time it was unclear whether this specimen
represented a newly established colony, and the proximity
to the Port of Montréal suggested rather an introduction.
In Europe the buttery ies as early as February since
it spends the winter hibernating as adult, and thus it
seemed plausible that a specimen had successfully crossed
the Atlantic as a stowaway in a container on a cargo ship.
However, from 1997 to 2008, the buttery was seen or
collected at least six more times by various collectors,
all in or around the greater Montréal area: St-Bruno-de-
Montarville (1997) (see cover photo), Parc-nature de la
Pointe-aux-Prairies (1998), Ville d’Anjou and L’Acadie
(2003), Varennes (2006) and Repentigny (2008). Then, after
a few years with no new records, it was spotted again in
Trois-Rivières (2013) and Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montréal
(2014). Since then it has been commonly observed in these
areas, as well as in Granby (2016) and Saint-Mathieu-de-
Beloeil (2017). There is little doubt that Aglais io is now
well established in the Greater Montréal area and perhaps
even Southwest Québec.
Few records exist outside of Québec. In August 2014, a
specimen was photographed feeding on coneower in a
Halifax suburb, possibly an accidental introduction from
a cargo ship in the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia (MBA
Newsletter 2015). No other specimens have been seen
in the area since. Similarly, a record from Ontario, near
Harriston, Minto (Mississauga) in 2014 has remained
unique for the province (Layberry & Linton 2015).
The European Peacock Buttery, Aglais io (Linnaeus,
1758) in North America (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
Vazrick Nazari1, Louis Handeld2, and Daniel Handeld3
1Canadian National collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Ottawa Research and Development Centre,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada vazrick.nazari@agr.gc.ca
2845, de Fontainebleau, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Québec, Canada, J3H 4J2
3355, Chemin des Grands Coteaux, Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Québec, Canada, J3G 2C9
In the neighbouring State of New York, a sighting in Staten
Island on September 1995 (Gochfeld & Burger 1997) has
been followed by the discovery of a dead specimen on
January 2013 in a factory near Blodgett Mills in Central
New York State (Lotts & Naberhaus 2018). No other
specimens are known from New York State.
The buttery has also been sighted on the West Coast of
North America, rst from a port in Lane County, Oregon,
circa 1985 (Hinchliff 1994, Warren 2005). A recent
unpublished sighting from Richmond, BC in October 2017
(Alan Russell, pers. comm.) expands the range of this
species into Western Canada (Fig. 1). To our knowledge,
no other records or voucher specimens from the West Coast
exist, and it is not known whether these records represent
accidental introductions or possible establishment of the
species in the West.
Figure 1. Aglais io photographed in Richmond, British Columbia,
October 2017. (photo by Alan Russell)
In Québec, Aglais io overwinters and the adults y from
early spring to mid-September. They prefer open, sunny
and owery meadows, usually near woodlands, dry or wet
elds and ditches and borders of roads and railways, and
especially where there are colonies of Coltsfoot (Tussilago
farfara) which seems to be its preferred ower for nectaring.
The buttery has also been recorded nectaring on Buddleia
owers (Pierre Legault, pers. comm.). Larval hosts include
Urtica (nettles), especially Urtica dioica, but also Humulus
lupulus in England (Emmet & Heath 1990). In Québec, it
is likely to feed on Urtica procera (Handeld 2011).
129
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Fall 2018 News of e Lepidopterists’ Society
Volume 60, Number 3
Molecular analysis
Three Québec specimens were successfully barcoded and
yielded full-length (658 bp) COI barcode sequences (BIN
BOLD:AAB4921). Using TCS 1.21 (Clement et al 2000),
we compared these sequences to other specimens from
the entire range of Aglais io across the Palaeactic region
and found that they matched the most common haplotype,
widespread in Europe from Sweden to Spain and from
France to Eastern Russia (Fig. 2). Thus, based on DNA
barcode data alone it is not possible to determine the origin
of the Québec population, although Japan (ssp. geisha)
can be ruled out. At the time of the capture of the rst
specimen on Île Charron, one of the authors (LH) searched
the records at the Montréal Port Authority and found that
a cargo full of containers from Romania had arrived at the
port a few days prior. It is possible that this cargo was the
source of the introduction.
Acknowledgements
We would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following
amateur collectors and photographers for their records: Jacques
Leclerc and Porrio Neves (Montréal, QC),
André Simard (St-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC),
René Boutin (Chambly, QC), Claude Chantal
(Varennes, QC), Nathalie Bond (Repentigny,
QC), Pierre Legault (Pointe-aux-Trembles,
QC), Marie Pouliot (Trois-Rivières, QC), Duff
and Donna Evans (Halifax, NS) and Daryl
Hutton (Mississauga, ON). We thank Alan
Russell (Richmond, BC) and Crispin Guppy
(Whitehorse, YT) for information and photo of
the BC sighting, Sean Prosser (Guelph, Ontario)
for his help in NGS DNA barcoding of one of
the QC specimens, and Jean-François Landry
(Ottawa, Ontario) for his support.
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Figure 2. Haplotype network of public DNA barcode sequences of Aglais io (via
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... The peacock butterfly Aglais io (Linnaeus, 1758) (Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae: Nymphalini) is an indicator species for studying the effects of GMO maize pollen on non-targeted insects in Europe (Arpaia et al. 2018;Leclerc et al. 2018). The natural range of A. io includes the British Isles, Europe, temperate Asia, and the Far East, but has recently expanded its range into North America (Nazari et al. 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
The peacock butterfly Aglais io (Linnaeus, 1758) (Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae: Nymphalini) is a colorful and charismatic flagship butterfly species whose range spans from the British Isles and Europe through temperate Asia and the Far East. In Europe, it has been used as a model species for studying the effects of GMO maize pollen on caterpillar growth and survivorship. The Japanese subspecies, Aglais io geisha (Stichel 1907), is not as well studied as its European counterpart. Genome skimming by Illumina sequencing allowed the assembly of a complete circular mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of 15,252 bp from A. io geisha consisting of 80.6% AT nucleotides, 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNAs, two rRNAs, and a control region in the gene order typical of butterfly species. Aglais io geisha COX1 gene features an atypical start codon (CGA) while COX1, COX2, CYTB, ND1, ND3, ND4, and ND5 display incomplete stop codons finished by the addition of 3’ A residues to the mRNA. Bayesian phylogenetic reconstruction places A. io geisha within a clade with European A. io mitogenomes in the tribe Nymphalini, which is consistent with previous phylogenetic hypotheses.
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Estimating genealogical relationships among genes at the population level presents a number of difficulties to traditional methods of phylogeny reconstruction. These traditional methods such as parsimony, neighbour-joining, and maximum-likelihood make assumptions that are invalid at the population level. In this note, we announce the availability of a new software package, TCS, to estimate genealogical relationships among sequences using the method of Templeton et al. (1992) .
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The debate on whether to combine different data sets for simultaneous analysis has continued to the present day unabated. We have studied the effects of combining one morphological data set with four molecular data sets (two mitochondrial gene sequences and two nuclear gene sequences) for a group of butterflies belonging to the tribe Nymphalini using partitioned Bremer support. We particularly focus our attention on a group of species belonging to the genera Aglais, Inachis, Roddia, Nymphalis, Kaniska, and Polygonia. We find that, despite significant incongruence between most data partitions, all data partitions contribute positively to the support of most nodes in the most parsimonious trees found for the combined data set. We also find that the morphological data set resolves one particular node (Kaniska basal to Polygonia) with good support, while the molecular data sets are ambiguous about the existence of this node. We suggest that partitioned Bremer support allows one to critically appraise the robustness of each node in a given tree and thereby identify nodes that may change with the addition of new data and nodes that are likely to remain unchanged with new data. We also suggest that morphological data are still crucial to our being able to understand the relationships of extant organisms, despite published views to the contrary. Based on our results we suggest that Inachis should be synonymized with Aglais, Roddia with Nymphalis, and Kaniska with Polygonia.
The Moths and Butterflies of
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