Volume 45, Issue 2 p. 302-311
Original Article

Genomic evidence suggests Mesapamea remmi is an imaginary species (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Pasi Sihvonen

Corresponding Author

Pasi Sihvonen

Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Correspondence: Pasi Sihvonen, Finnish Museum of Natural History LUOMUS, P.O. Box 17, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Kyung Min Lee

Kyung Min Lee

Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

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Karl-Erik Lundsten

Karl-Erik Lundsten

Rintamamiehentie 7, Espoo, Finland

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Marko Mutanen

Marko Mutanen

Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

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First published: 28 October 2019
Citations: 1

Abstract

Taxonomic status of the noctuid moth Mesapamea remmi Rezbanyai-Reser (Lepidoptera) has remained controversial since its description in 1985. Based on morphology, it has been considered a valid species or a hybrid between Mesapamea secalis (Linnaeus) and Mesapamea didyma (Esper). We studied this case of uncertain identity by using traditional Sanger sequencing techniques (COI and seven nuclear genes) as well as double digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing, which resulted in analyses including 9402 loci and 1 512 976 bp across the genome. Our analyses showed that genomic data do not support the hybrid hypothesis and that M. remmi is not separated genetically from M. secalis; both are clearly distinct from M. didyma. Reproductive organs of M. remmi males are unique and diagnosable, whereas females are teratological in the sense that ductus seminalis is missing and corpus bursae is malformed, the latter being connected directly to the ovipore. These data support the view that M. remmi is not a valid species and we consider M. remmi Rezbanyai-Reser, 1985 to be a junior synonym of M. secalis (Linnaeus, 1758). We demonstrate that genomic approaches provide an efficient way to address various difficult and long-standing taxonomic issues, in this case oversplitting of species.