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Day moths may be of American origin

Day moths may be of American origin

Butterflies are the insects that everyone loves, thanks to their easy flight, often colored wings, and marked by flowers. However, despite the fact that they have been studied the most among all insects, we don’t know much about their evolutionary history or the driving force that contributed to creating their diversity today.

Bees are known to have evolved with nectar-producing flowering plants, and flowers produce nectar because of bees. However, butterflies also eat nectar, and Florida Museum of Natural History According to his review, butterflies used the path taken by bees, the same source of nectar, in their development. About 100 million years ago, a group of nocturnal butterflies (moths) took a new path: they switched to a diurnal lifestyle. A large international research group recently a nature and its evolution In one of the magazines it was reported that they managed to reveal the place where this fateful event took place.

Butterfly family tree

Source: Nature Ecology & Evolution

Based on the genetic comparison of 2,244 butterfly species from 90 countries, the family tree of today’s butterflies has been reconstructed. Diurnal moths can be traced back to a single moth ancestor, which was in the mid-Cretaceous period, ca. He lived 101 million years ago! They also looked for the location where this lifestyle change occurred, for which the distribution data of the butterflies and their host plants (on which their larvae develop) were analyzed. Because the fragile bodies of butterflies are rarely preserved in fossils, only a few fossils can be used to refine the history computed from genetic and other data.

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Butterfly fossil, it lived 34 million years ago Antiqua Lithopsyche.

We were able to find out that this happened in the western regions of Central and North America, in a completely different geographic setting than today. It also turned out that some groups of butterflies made very long journeys between continents, while other groups stayed in place and moved continents, mountains and rivers around them. Due to the arrangement of the continents at that time, North Asia crossed the Bering Strait, which was followed by Southeast Asia, the Middle East and part of Africa. They also crossed into India, which at that time still existed as a separate island, then Australia and Antarctica, with which it was still united at that time, and this followed during the flight of conquest (butterflies can live in the northern part of Antarctica during warmer period).

This is how butterflies conquered our planet (their flight was filmed at intervals of 15 million years)

Source: Nature Ecology & Evolution

Europe and North Africa (the Mediterranean) were the last inhabited regions, there are still relatively few species of butterflies here compared to other regions, and many species can also be found, for example, in Siberia. They are the first butterflies in Europe Aglais And Nymphalisand the Polygonia and the Carcharodini They probably belonged to genera, and these include today’s fox moth, the letter C moth, and some bus moths.

Butterflies with the letter C can already be found in early spring.

Source: I sent it / Andrea Barta

By the end of the Eocene, modern groups of butterflies were already present on all present-day continents.

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From the data on food plants, it was possible to calculate that it could be that butterfly flowers provided food for the caterpillars of the first diurnal butterflies. By the time of the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period (66 million years ago), all but one of today’s butterfly families had already formed, and each had a “favorite” group of plants from which its hosts appeared. The intertwined evolution of plants and butterflies has resulted in a remarkable richness in both branches.

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