University of Oulu

D’Ercole J, Dincă V, Opler PA, Kondla N, Schmidt C, Phillips JD, Robbins R, Burns JM, Miller SE, Grishin N, Zakharov EV, DeWaard JR, Ratnasingham S, Hebert PDN. 2021. A DNA barcode library for the butterflies of North America. PeerJ 9:e11157

A DNA barcode library for the butterflies of North America

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Author: D’Ercole, Jacopo1,2; Dincă, Vlad3; Opler, Paul A.4;
Organizations: 1Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
2Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
3Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America
5Unaffiliated, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Agriculture and Agri-Food, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
7School of Computer Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
8Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, United States of America
9Department of Biophysics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, United States of America
10Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, United States of America
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: PeerJ, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-17


Although the butterflies of North America have received considerable taxonomic attention, overlooked species and instances of hybridization continue to be revealed. The present study assembles a DNA barcode reference library for this fauna to identify groups whose patterns of sequence variation suggest the need for further taxonomic study. Based on 14,626 records from 814 species, DNA barcodes were obtained for 96% of the fauna. The maximum intraspecific distance averaged 1/4 the minimum distance to the nearest neighbor, producing a barcode gap in 76% of the species. Most species (80%) were monophyletic, the others were para- or polyphyletic. Although 15% of currently recognized species shared barcodes, the incidence of such taxa was far higher in regions exposed to Pleistocene glaciations than in those that were ice-free. Nearly 10% of species displayed high intraspecific variation (>2.5%), suggesting the need for further investigation to assess potential cryptic diversity. Aside from aiding the identification of all life stages of North American butterflies, the reference library has provided new perspectives on the incidence of both cryptic and potentially over-split species, setting the stage for future studies that can further explore the evolutionary dynamics of this group.

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Series: PeerJ
ISSN: 2167-8359
ISSN-E: 2167-8359
ISSN-L: 2167-8359
Volume: 9
Article number: e11157
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.11157
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was supported by grants to Paul Hebert from NSERC, Genome Canada through Ontario Genomics, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Canada Research Chairs Program. Support for this research was also provided by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (project no. 625997) and by the Academy of Finland to Vlad Dincă (Academy Research Fellow, decision no. 328895). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 D’Ercole et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0.