Relationships within satyrine butterflies have been notoriously difficult to resolve using both morphology and Sanger sequencing methods, and this is particularly true for the mainly Neotropical subtribe Euptychiina, which contains about 400 described species. Known larvae of Euptychiina feed on grasses and sedges, with the exception of the genus Euptychia, which feed on mosses and lycopsids, and the butterflies occur widely in rainforest, cloudforest and grassland habitats, where they are often abundant. Several previous molecular and morphological studies have made significant progress in tackling the systematics of the group, but many relationships remain unresolved, with long-branch-attraction artifacts being a major problem. Additionally, the monophyly of the clade remains uncertain, with Euptychia possibly not being closely related to the remainder of the clade. Here we present a backbone phylogeny of the subtribe based on 106 taxa, 368 nuclear loci, and over 180,000 bps obtained through hybrid enrichment. Using both concatenation and species tree approaches (IQ-TREE, EXABAYES, ASTRAL), we can for the first time strongly confirm the monophyly of Euptychiina with Euptychia being the sister group to the remainder of the clade. The Euptychiina is divided into nine well supported clades, but the placement of a few genera such as Hermeuptychia, Pindis and the Chloreuptychia catharina group still remain uncertain. As partially indicated in previous studies, the genera Cissia, Chloreuptychia, Magneuptychia, Megisto, Splendeuptychia and Euptychoides, among others, were found to be highly polyphyletic and revisions are in preparation. The phylogeny will provide a strong backbone for the analysis of datasets in development that are much more taxonomically comprehensive but have orders of magnitude fewer loci. This study therefore represents a critical step towards resolving the higher classification and studying the evolution of this highly diverse lineage.
- Target enrichment