Long read genome assembly of Automeris io (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) an emerging model for the evolution of deimatic displays

G3 (Bethesda). 2024 Mar 6;14(3):jkad292. doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkad292.


Automeris moths are a morphologically diverse group with 135 described species that have a geographic range that spans from the New World temperate zone to the Neotropics. Many Automeris have elaborate hindwing eyespots that are thought to deter or disrupt the attack of potential predators, allowing the moth time to escape. The Io moth (Automeris io), known for its striking eyespots, is a well-studied species within the genus and is an emerging model system to study the evolution of deimatism. Existing research on the eyespot pattern development will be augmented by genomic resources that allow experimental manipulation of this emerging model. Here, we present a high-quality, PacBio HiFi genome assembly for Io moth to aid existing research on the molecular development of eyespots and future research on other deimatic traits. This 490 Mb assembly is highly contiguous (N50 = 15.78 mbs) and complete (benchmarking universal single-copy orthologs = 98.4%). Additionally, we were able to recover orthologs of genes previously identified as being involved in wing pattern formation and movement.

Keywords: Bombycoidea; Io moth; antipredator; behavior; deimatism; eyespots.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • Moths* / genetics