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Official Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society of Africa
2004, Metamorphosis Volume 15, Issue 3: 91 - 151
Publication Date : 2004-09-30
Author/s : Alan Heath and Ernest L. Pringle

Title :

A review of the southern African genus Thestor Hübner (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Miletinae)

Abstract :

The genus Thestor Hübner is reviewed; their distribution, behavior, morphology and phylogeny are investigated and discussed.  The genus is shown to be atypical of lycaenids in the segmentation and claws of the male foretarsus, the short antennae of the adults and their inability to use their proboscis to take nectar, Cladistic and biological analyses suggest that a major radiation has occurred in the southern Cape area in comparatively recent times.  This has been especially marked in the brachycerus (‘black’) species group in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.  We postulate that climate or vegetation type (Fynbos) may have played a part in the presence of suitable ant symbionts and hence contributed towards this Thestor radiation.  Good support now exists for the assertion (Pierce et al. 2002: 748) that the associated ant for Thestor  spp., Anoplolepis custodiens (Smith) (Formicinae), may be a constellation of sibling species.  From phylogenetic analyses of Thestor and of their ant associates we show that the two most basal clades of ants correspond with those of Thestor, although it is unlikely that these lycaenids and ants co-evolved.  Two new species are described, T. claassensi sp. n. and T. overbergensis sp. n. and the following taxonomic changes are made: Thestor malagas Dickson & Wykeham is synonymised with T. dicksoni Riley and given subspecific; T. calviniae Dickson is raised to specific status from that of a subspecies of T. dicksoni; T. swanepoeli Pennington is synonymised with T. rossouwi Dickson; T. terblanchei Henning & Henning is synonymised with T. protumnus (Linnaeus) and given subspecific status; T. protumnus mijburghi Dickson & Wykeham is synonymised with T. protumnus aridus van Son; Thestor tempe Pennington is synonymised with T. petra Pennington and given subspecific status: T. dukei van Son is synonymised with T. brachycerus (Trimen) and given subspecific status.  Thestor taxa are listed in Appendix 3 in a systematic order based on a cladogram derived from morphological characters.

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Keywords:

Lachnocnemini, myrmecophily, ant, taxonomy, trophallaxis, aphytophagy, life history, ant-associates, Homoptera, Anoplolepis, evolution, morphology, phylogeny, phylogenetic tree, cladogram, South Africa

Citation :

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