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Type: Article
Published: 2018-03-20
Page range: 32–48
Abstract views: 568
PDF downloaded: 366

Cryptic species among bumblebee mimics: an unrecognized Hemaris hawkmoth (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) in eastern North America

Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes, Ottawa Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Lepidoptera Co-mimicry Bombus mimicry Cryptic species DNA barcode Caprifoliaceae Diervilla lonicera Lonicera tatarica


Through integrating molecular, morphological and natural history evidence, nominal Hemaris diffinis (Boisduval) of eastern North America is shown to include a second, cryptic species, Hemaris aethra (Strecker) stat. rev. Despite highly divergent mtDNA sequences and differing larval phenotypes, genitalic morphology, habitat and larval host plants, adults of H. aethra and sympatric H. diffinis are externally so similar that H. aethra has remained unrecognized for over a century. With a more northerly distribution than H. diffinis, H. aethra occurs from Manitoba to Nova Scotia and adjacent parts of the United States, the two species occurring in strict sympatry in eastern Ontario and likely other regions. Co-mimicry of Bombus Latreille bumblebee models has likely resulted in phenotypic convergence of H. diffinis and H. aethra, as the two do not appear to be sister taxa, the latter instead being more closely related to the western species H. thetis (Boisduval). The larvae of H. aethra are illustrated for the first time, together with diagnostic images and comparisons of adults. Lectotypes are designated for Hemaris tenuis Grote and Hemaris marginalis Grote.



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