Comprehensive phylogeny of Pieridae butterflies reveals strong correlation between diversification and temperature

iScience. 2024 Feb 28;27(4):109336. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2024.109336. eCollection 2024 Apr 19.


Temperature is thought to be a key factor influencing global species richness patterns. We investigate the link between temperature and diversification in the butterfly family Pieridae by combining next generation DNA sequences and published molecular data with fine-grained distribution data. We sampled nearly 600 pierid butterfly species to infer the most comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family and curated a distribution dataset of more than 800,000 occurrences. We found strong evidence that species in environments with more stable daily temperatures or cooler maximum temperatures in the warm seasons have higher speciation rates. Furthermore, speciation and extinction rates decreased in tandem with global temperatures through geological time, resulting in a constant net diversification.

Keywords: Entomology; Evolutionary biology; Phylogeny.

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.c59zw3rbh