Genomic analysis reveals a new genus of Firetip skippers (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae: Pyrrhopyginae)


  • Jing Zhang
  • Jinhui Shen
  • Qian Cong
  • Geoff Martin
  • Nick V. Grishin


We obtained whole genome shotgun sequence reads for a number of Firetip skippers (subfamily Pyrrhopyginae), including all known species from the genera Yanguna Watson, 1893 and Gunayan Mielke, 2002 and representative species of Pyrrhopyge Hübner, [1819]. Phylogenetic analysis of their protein-coding regions unexpectedly revealed that Yanguna tetricus Bell, 1931 was not monophyletic with the other species of Yanguna (type species Pyrrhopyga spatiosa Hewitson, 1870). Instead, Y. tetricus formed a phylogenetic lineage as ancient as other three genera in its clade (Pyrrhopyge, Yanguna and Gunayan) that rapidly diversified from their ancestor. Therefore a new genus, Guyanna Grishin, gen. n. (type species Yanguna tetricus), is proposed for this lineage. The specimen that we sequenced was the Y. tetricus holotype in the Natural History Museum, London, leaving no doubt that we are dealing with this species. Genomic sequencing and comparison of specimens from museum collections offers a powerful strategy to reveal unforeseen phylogenetic relationships, and sequencing of primary types ensures that the conclusions are accurate in terms of nomenclature.