Complete genomes of Hairstreak butterflies, their speciation, and nucleo-mitochondrial incongruence

Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 28;6:24863. doi: 10.1038/srep24863.


Comparison of complete genomes of closely related species enables research on speciation and how phenotype is determined by genotype. Lepidoptera, an insect order of 150,000 species with diverse phenotypes, is well-suited for such comparative genomics studies if new genomes, which cover additional Lepidoptera families are acquired. We report a 729 Mbp genome assembly of the Calycopis cecrops, the first genome from the family Lycaenidae and the largest available Lepidoptera genome. As detritivore, Calycopis shows expansion in detoxification and digestion enzymes. We further obtained complete genomes of 8 Calycopis specimens: 3 C. cecrops and 5 C. isobeon, including a dry specimen stored in the museum for 30 years. The two species differ subtly in phenotype and cannot be differentiated by mitochondrial DNA. However, nuclear genomes revealed a deep split between them. Genes that can clearly separate the two species (speciation hotspots) mostly pertain to circadian clock, mating behavior, transcription regulation, development and cytoskeleton. The speciation hotspots and their function significantly overlap with those we previously found in Pterourus, suggesting common speciation mechanisms in these butterflies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Variation, Population
  • Butterflies / classification*
  • Butterflies / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA