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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Cladus: Coelolepida
Cladus: Myoglossata
Cladus: Neolepidoptera
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Cladus: Eulepidoptera
Cladus: Ditrysia
Cladus: Apoditrysia
Cladus: Obtectomera
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea

Familia: Nymphalidae
Subfamilia: Danainae
Tribus: Ithomiini
Subtribus (8): Dircennina - Godyridina - Ithomiina - Mechanitina - Melinaeina - Napeogenina - Oleriina - Tithoreina


Ithomiini Godman & Salvin, 1879

Lamas, G. 2004. (ed.) Checklist: Part 4A. Hesperioidea - Papilionoidea. In Heppner, J.B. (ed.) Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Vol.5A, Pt.4A. Assn. for Tropical Lepidoptera/Scientific Publishers, Gainesville. 439pp. Reference page.
Vitale, Via G. & Gabriel Rodríguez, 2008: New Ithomiinae from Colombia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Genus 19 (3): 577–584. Full article: [1]

Ithomiini is a butterfly tribe in the nymphalid subfamily Danainae. It is sometimes referred to as the tribe of clearwing butterflies or glasswing butterflies. Some authors consider the group to be a subfamily (Ithomiinae). These butterflies are exclusively Neotropical, found in humid forests from sea level to 3000 m, from Mexico to Argentina. There are around 370 species in some 40–45 genera.

1 Ithomiini biology
2 Ithomiini classification
3 See also
4 References
5 External links

Ithomiini biology

Ithomiines are unpalatable because their adults seek out and sequester pyrrolizidine alkaloids from plants that they visit, especially composite flowers (Asteraceae) and wilted borages (Boraginaceae). The slow-flying adults are Müllerian mimics of each other as well as of many other Lepidoptera. Henry Walter Bates referred to a "transparency group" of Amazon butterfly species. It was originally with seven species belonging to six different genera. Reginald Punnett suggested 28 species of this peculiar facies are known, though some are excessively rare. The majority are ithomiines, but two species of the Danaine genus Lycorea, the pierine Dismorphia orise the swallow-tail Parides hahneli, and several species of diurnal moths belonging to different families also enter into the combination. Identification of adult ithomiines relies on hindwing venation and male androconial scales (sex brushes located on the hindwing costa).

The group has repeatedly been proposed as biological indicators of ecological conditions or biological diversity within neotropical forests, but individual sites harbor between 10 and 50 species, for the most part, and beta diversity is often great, even over relatively short distances.

Ithomiine larvae feed mostly on Solanaceae host plants. Exceptions are the more basal genera Tithorea, Aeria, and Elzunia that, like Tellervo and some Danainae, feed on Echiteae vines (Apocynaceae, Apocynoideae), as well as Megoleria and Hyposcada that feed on Gesneriaceae.

The local abundance of ithomiine butterflies in the Amazon forest, the lack of observations of predation, and their "peculiar smell" led Henry Walter Bates in 1867 to suggest that these organisms should be chemically defended. This was first experimentally demonstrated in 1889 when Thomas Belt fed ithomiines (that he called "Heliconii") to birds, the spider Nephila, and the white faced monkey Cebus capucinus. The butterflies were consistently rejected, but other insects were eaten. Lincoln P. Brower in 1964 also showed that adults of Ithomia drymo pellucida were rejected by the blue jay Cyanocitta cristata bromia, and Haber showed that nine species of birds also rejected several ithomiine species. Besides, João Vasconcellos-Neto and Thomas M. Lewinsohn demonstrated that the Neotropical orb-weaving spider Nephila clavipes released unharmed 14 species of field-caught ithomiine butterflies.[1]

The source of the protecting chemicals in the bodies of adult ithomiines proved not to be their larval host plants, as was first suggested, but rather in plants visited by the butterflies. Adults of ithomiine, mainly males, visit flowers of some Boraginaceae, (Tournefortia, Heliotropium), Asteraceae (mostly in the tribe Eupatorieae, and rarely on Senecio species), Apocynaceae (Prestonia, belonging to the tribe Echiteae) and Orchidaceae (Epidendrum paniculatum). Dead or withered plants are also visited and, when feeding on these plants, the butterflies scratch the tissues with their legs and suck the oozing sap. These plants are known to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, indicating their role as chemical sources for sequestration. Other butterfly and moth species that sequester pyrrolizidine alkaloids (Danainae, Ctenuchidae, and Arctiidae) also visit similar sources. The first demonstration that pyrrolizidine alkaloids were involved in the chemical defense of insects was given by Thomas Eisner, who showed that the spiders Nephila and Argiope rejected adults of the arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix that contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids from their larval host plant, Crotalaria (Fabaceae: Crotalarieae). Eisner's best-selling popular science book For Love of Insects tells the story of this exciting discovery.
Ithomiini classification

The subtribes in the Ithomiini help to organize the 43 recognized genera, but this group is the subject of ongoing molecular, phylogenetic and morphological research, and the classification presented below will no doubt be refined in the near future.

The sister group to the tribe Ithomiini is either the small tribe Tellervini (containing the single Australasian genus Tellervo) or the larger tribe Danaini. The relationships of the three tribes in the subfamily Danainae are still unclear.

Source: "The higher classification of Nymphalidae". Archived February 20, 2009.
Note: A species list with proposed new tribes for subfamily Ithomiinae is available from Keith Willmott at [1].
Note: Names preceded by an equal sign (=) are synonyms, homonyms, rejected names or invalid names.

Tribe Ithomiini Godman & Salvin, 1879

Subtribe Tithoreina Fox, 1940
Elzunia Bryk, 1937
Tithorea Doubleday, 1847 (= Hirsutis Haensch, 1909)
Aeria Hübner, 1816
Subtribe Melinaeina Clark, 1947
Athesis Doubleday, 1847 (= Roswellia Fox, 1948)
Eutresis Doubleday, 1847
Athyrtis C. Felder & R. Felder, 1862
Paititia Lamas, 1979
Olyras Doubleday, 1847
Patricia Fox, 1940
Melinaea Hübner, 1816 (= homonym Melinaea Bates, 1862; = Czakia Kremky, 1925)
Subtribe Mechanitina Bar, 1878
Methona Doubleday, 1847 (= Gelotophye d'Almeida, 1940)
Thyridia Hübner, 1816 (= Xanthocleis Boisduval, 1870; = Aprotopus Kirby, 1871; = Aprotopos Kirby, 1871)
Scada Kirby, 1871 (= homonym Salacia Hübner, 1823; = Heteroscada Schatz, 1886)
Sais Hübner, 1816
Forbestra Fox, 1967
Mechanitis Fabricius, 1807 (= homonym Nereis Hübner, 1806; = unavailable name Hymenitis Illiger, 1807; = Epimetes Billberg, 1820)
Subtribe Napeogenina
Aremfoxia Réal, 1971
Epityches d'Almeida, 1938 (= homonym Tritonia Geyer, 1832)
Hyalyris Boisduval, 1870 (= Oreogenes Stichel, 1899)
Napeogenes Bates, 1862 (= homonym Ceratonia Boisduval, 1870; = Choridis Boisduval, 1870)
Hypothyris Hübner, 1821 (= Mansueta d'Almeida, 1922; = Pseudomechanitis Röber, 1930; = Garsauritis d'Almeida, 1938; = Rhodussa d'Almeida, 1939)
Subtribe Ithomiina Godman & Salvin, 1879
Placidina d'Almeida, 1928 (= Placidula d'Almeida, 1922)
Pagyris Boisduval, 1870 (= Miraleria Haensch, 1903)
Ithomia Hübner, 1816 (= Dynothea Reakirt, 1866)
Subtribe Oleriina
Megoleria Constantino, 1999
Hyposcada Godman & Salvin, 1879
Oleria Hübner, 1816 (= Leucothyris Boisduval, 1870; = Ollantaya Brown & Freitas, 1994)
Subtribe Dircennina d'Almeida, 1941
Ceratinia Hübner, 1816 (= Calloleria Godman & Salvin, 1879; = Epileria Rebel, 1902; = Teracinia Röber, 1910)
Callithomia Bates, 1862 (= Cleodis Boisduval, 1870; = Epithomia Godman & Salvin, 1879; = Corbulis Boisduval, 1870; = Leithomia Masters, 1973)
Dircenna Doubleday, 1847
Hyalenna Forbes, 1942
Episcada Godman & Salvin, 1879 (= Ceratiscada Brown & d'Almeida, 1970; = Prittwitzia Brown, Mielke & Ebert, 1970)
Haenschia Lamas, 2004
Pteronymia Butler & H. Druce, 1872 (= Ernicornis Capronnier, 1874; = Parapteronymia Kremky, 1925; = Talamancana Haber, Brown & Freitas, 1994)
Subtribe Godyridina
Velamysta Haensch, 1909
Godyris Boisduval, 1870 (= Dismenitis Haensch, 1903; = Dygoris Fox, 1945)
Veladyris Fox, 1945
Hypoleria Godman & Salvin, 1879 (= homonym Pigritia d'Almeida, 1922; = homonym Pigritina Hedicke, 1923; = homonym Heringia d'Almeida, 1924)
Brevioleria Lamas, 2004
Mcclungia Fox, 1940
Greta Hemming, 1934 (= homonym Hymenitis Hübner, 1819; = Hypomenitis Fox, 1945)
Heterosais Godman & Salvin, 1880 (= Rhadinoptera d'Almeida, 1922)
Pseudoscada Godman & Salvin, 1879 (= Languida d'Almeida, 1922)

See also

Animal coloration


Vasconcellos-Neto, João & Lewinsohn, Thomas M (August 1984). "Discrimination and release of unpalatable butterflies by Nephila clavipes, a Neotropical orb-weaving spider". Ecological Entomology. 9 (3): 337–344. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.1984.tb00857.x. S2CID 83792953.

Lamas, G. (1999). "Nymphalidae II Pt. 3 Ithomiinae". In: E. Bauer & T. Frankenbach (Eds.), Butterflies of the World. (pp. 1–17). Keltern, Germany: Goecke & Evers. ISBN 978-3-931374-66-2. 16 color plates - illustrates 252 specimens covering subset of the 320 known species, many of which are divided into subspecies.
Brown Jr., K. S. & Freitas, A. V. L. (1994). "Juvenile stages of Ithomiinae: overview and systematics (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)". Tropical Lepidoptera. 5 (1): 9-20.

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