University of Oulu

Eric Toro-Delgado and others, Butterfly–parasitoid–hostplant interactions in Western Palaearctic Hesperiidae: a DNA barcoding reference library, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 196, Issue 2, October 2022, Pages 757–774,

Butterfly–parasitoid–hostplant interactions in Western Palaearctic Hesperiidae : a DNA barcoding reference library

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Author: Toro-Delgado, Eric1; Hernández-Roldán, Juan1,2; Dincă, Vlad3,4;
Organizations: 1Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), 03008 Barcelona, Spain
2Departamento de Biología (Zoología), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c/ Darwin, 2, ES-28049 Madrid, Spain
3Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, PO Box 3000, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB), University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
5c/ Witerico, 9A, Bajo B, ES-28025 Madrid, Spain
6National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
7Department of Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
8Via Barge 3, 10139 Torino, Italy
9Hühnerbühlrain 4, CH-3065 Bolligen, Switzerland
10Canadian National Collection of Insects, Ottawa, Canada
11Centre de Recerca Matemàtica, Edifici C, Campus de Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
12European Centre for Living Technology, Venice, Italy
13Dipartimento di Biologia, University of Florence, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
14Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
15Institut Botànic de Barcelona (IBB), CSIC-Ajuntament de Barcelona, Passeig del Migdia s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oxford University Press, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-07-11


The study of ecological interactions between plants, phytophagous insects and their natural enemies is an essential but challenging component for understanding ecosystem dynamics. Molecular methods such as DNA barcoding can help elucidate these interactions. In this study, we employed DNA barcoding to establish hostplant and parasitoid interactions with hesperiid butterflies, using a complete reference library for Hesperiidae of continental Europe and north-western Africa (53 species, 100% of those recorded) based on 2934 sequences from 38 countries. A total of 233 hostplant and parasitoid interactions are presented, some recovered by DNA barcoding larval remains or parasitoid cocoons. Combining DNA barcode results with other lines of evidence allowed 94% species-level identification for Hesperiidae, but success was lower for parasitoids, in part due to unresolved taxonomy. Potential cases of cryptic diversity, both in Hesperiidae and Microgastrinae, are discussed. We briefly analyse the resulting interaction networks. Future DNA barcoding initiatives in this region should focus attention on north-western Africa and on parasitoids, because in these cases barcode reference libraries and taxonomy are less well developed.

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Series: Zoological journal of the Linnean Society
ISSN: 0024-4082
ISSN-E: 1096-3642
ISSN-L: 0024-4082
Volume: 196
Issue: 2
Pages: 757 - 774
DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac052
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
Funding: Support for this research was provided by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) with a JAE-Intro fellowship for the introduction to research to ETD (reference numbers JAEINT_20_00248 and JAEINT20_EX_0638) and by projects PID2019-107078GB-I00/MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and 2017-SGR-991 (Generalitat de Catalunya) to RV, and PID2020-117739GA-I00/MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 to GT. We thank the Rachadaphiseksomphot Fund, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University, for the award of a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship to DLJQ. Further support for this research was provided by the Academy of Finland (Academy Research Fellow, decision no. 328895) to VD. VD also acknowledges the Visiting Professor Fellowship awarded by the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest. PDNH acknowledges support from Genome Canada through Ontario Genomics. BV has been funded by the CERCA Programme of the Generalitat de Catalunya and by the Grant RYC-22243-2017, whose PI is Josep Sardanyés. SV was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, grant PID2020-117822GB-I00 MINEICO/AEI/ FEDER and the European Union.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 328895
Detailed Information: 328895 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 The Linnean Society of London. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact