Noctuid Wing Venation Evolution Project

The Family of Noctuid Moths are being used to study the Evolution of Insect Wing Shapes

Joe Kunkel has been collaborating with Ted Sargent on collecting Noctuids, identifying them and analysing their wing venation and shape. Ted's experience with the noctuids, and particularly the underwings, Catocala, bring numerous biological problems and insights into the study.

An initial study involved three groups of the genus Catocala. These moths have a variety of colored and melanic hindwings and varying degrees of cryptic forewings:

The three subgroups of Catocala , (A, B and C) have been separated on classical grounds.

Here are some Catocala from group A

BEWARE medium sized gifs and bigger jpegs
BEWARE medium sized gifs and bigger jpegs

© 1995, Joseph G. Kunkel

Here are some Catocala from group B

© 1995, Joseph G. Kunkel

Here are some Catocala from group C

© 1995, Joseph G. Kunkel

There is no superficial way to group these species and most of the 300-odd species from around the world that constitute this speciose genus, Catocala . The way in which experts in this group have assigned relationships is via diagnostic key features including spines on the adult legs. We have chosen to use the wandering of wingvein landmarks on the forewings of adults as a trait to observe and compare between species, with the hope that they will be seen to diverge from congruence with each other as two sibling species diverge from one another. Hopefully this random divergence from each other will continue with increasing time separation of two extant species. The basic questions we hope to answer in our research are: Do wing landmarks diverge in a measureable way from perfect congruence when species diverge? -and- Can we confirm that this divergence is a reliable measure of length of species separation?

Please stand by as we develop our story arround this web page!

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Page maintained by Joe Kunkel, Copyright(c) 1995. Created: 95/10/28 Updated: 11/14/95