Morphological and genetic analyses verify the occurrence of the butterfly Graphium chironides (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) in Peninsular Malaysia and resolve the confusion on the validity of its subspecies malayanum Eliot, 1982

Chooi-Khim PHON, Laurence G. KIRTON & Meng-Kiat KUAH

en European Journal of Taxonomy 917 (94) - Pages 94-121

Published on 09 January 2024

Graphium chironides malayanum Eliot, 1982 was described as a taxon occurring sympatrically with G. bathycles bathycloides in Peninsular Malaysia. However, the validity of the subspecies has been questioned in a recent publication that was based on a study of DNA and morphology, implying that G. c. malayanum is a synonym of G. b. bathycloides and G. chironides is absent from the Peninsula. A re-examination of male wing morphology, genitalia and DNA shows that G. c. malayanum is a valid taxon distinguished from G. b. bathycloides by wider discal markings, a less falcate forewing, distinct differences in the arms of the harpe in the male genitalia and clearly divergent mtDNA COI genes. In the DNA analysis, G. c. malayanum formed a monophyletic clade closely related to G. chironides from China, and both were well-separated from the G. b. bathycloides clade. An examination of characters used in the previous study showed that the conclusions reached were due to misinterpretation of diagnostic characters, misidentification of specimens and the absence of G. c. malayanum among the specimens examined. When these characters were correctly interpreted, each specimen was readily assigned to the correct taxon. Diagnostic morphological characters are reclarified based on the current data.

papilionidae, Graphium bathycles bathycloides, Graphium chironides malayanum, morphology, DNA barcode
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