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, 5 (3), e9933

Molecular Phylogeny of the Small Ermine Moth Genus Yponomeuta (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) in the Palaearctic


Molecular Phylogeny of the Small Ermine Moth Genus Yponomeuta (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) in the Palaearctic

Hubert Turner et al. PLoS One.


Background: The small ermine moth genus Yponomeuta (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) contains 76 species that are specialist feeders on hosts from Celastraceae, Rosaceae, Salicaceae, and several other plant families. The genus is a model for studies in the evolution of phytophagous insects and their host-plant associations. Here, we reconstruct the phylogeny to provide a solid framework for these studies, and to obtain insight into the history of host-plant use and the biogeography of the genus.

Methodology/principal findings: DNA sequences from an internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1) and from the 16S rDNA (16S) and cytochrome oxidase (COII) mitochondrial genes were collected from 20-23 (depending on gene) species and two outgroup taxa to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Palaearctic members of this genus. Sequences were analysed using three different phylogenetic methods (parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian inference).

Conclusions/significance: Roughly the same patterns are retrieved irrespective of the method used, and they are similar among the three genes. Monophyly is well supported for a clade consisting of the Japanese (but not the Dutch) population of Yponomeuta sedellus and Y. yanagawanus, a Y. kanaiellus-polystictus clade, and a Rosaceae-feeding, western Palaearctic clade (Y. cagnagellus-irrorellus clade). Within these clades, relationships are less well supported, and the patterns between the different gene trees are not so similar. The position of the remaining taxa is also variable among the gene trees and rather weakly supported. The phylogenetic information was used to elucidate patterns of biogeography and resource use. In the Palaearctic, the genus most likely originated in the Far East, feeding on Celastraceae, dispersing to the West concomitant with a shift to Rosaceae and further to Salicaceae. The association of Y. cagnagellus with Euonymus europaeus (Celastraceae), however, is a reversal. The only oligophagous species, Y. padellus, belongs to the derived western Palaearctic clade, evidence that specialisation is reversible.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Cladograms of maximum-likelihood gene trees.
A, 16S: −ln L = 2823.019097. B, COII: −ln L = 3469.131414. C, ITS-1: −ln L = 3014.056596. Values on branches are bootstrap values.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Species trees.
A, MP tree; l = 1198, CI = 0.647, RI = 0.641; B, BI mitochondrial tree; C, total-evidence ML tree, −ln L = 17485.271575. Values on branches are MP (A) or ML (B, C) bootstrap values/BI clade confidence values.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Adams consensus trees of all results (MP, MP with successive reweighting, ML).
A, 16S + COII (19 trees), and B, all trees (53 trees). Dashed lines indicate grades; hatched lines show taxa not present in all partitions. Following their names are species' host plant and distribution. Cel  =  Celastraceae, Ros  =  Rosaceae, Sal  =  Salicaceae, Cras  =  Crassulaceae; Eu  =  western Palaearctic, As  =  eastern Palaearctic, Af  =  Africa, NA  =  North America.

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