The hairstreaks are an extremely diverse lycaenid subfamily, well-represented in all regions and particularly in the tropics. Many species possess "tails" on the apices of the hindwings that authors have hypothesized act as a false head, distracting the attention of predators away from the more vital body parts (see Robbins, 1980, 1981).
Evolution and Systematics
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
The hypothesis of relationships among tribes is based on Eliot's (1973) intuitive phylogeny. Note that Eliot viewed Theclinae as a subfamily at that point (he demoted the group to a tribe in Corbet et al. 1992). According to R. K. Robbins (pers. comm., 2008), Eliot's 1992 reduction in rank of the hairstreaks, blues and coppers has not been adopted by most lycaenid researchers, and so these taxa are here ranked as a clade of subfamilies.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:5366
Specimens with Barcodes:4963
Species With Barcodes:1024
Subfamily Theclinae is a group of butterflies, including the hairstreaks, elfins and allies, in the family Lycaenidae. There are many tropical species as well as a number found in the Americas. Tropical hairstreaks often have iridescent blue coloration above, caused by reflected light from the structure of the wing scales rather than by pigment. Hairstreaks from North America are commonly brown above. Few Theclinae are migratory.
The systematics and phylogeny of the numerous Theclinae has not reached a robust consensus yet. The arrangement presented here is based on Savela (2007), but be aware that it is probably oversplit and several tribes may not be valid. Nonetheless, the tribes as listed here generally seem to represent monophyletic lineages, but whether this is indeed so and whether these are distinct enough to warrant this level of separation remains to be resolved.
Theclinae incertae sedis
The following genera have not yet been assigned to a tribe:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theclinae.|
- Opler, Paul (1999). Field Guide to Western Butterflies, A. Amy Bartlett Wright (ill.) (2nd edition ed.). Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Savela, Markku (2007): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms: Theclinae. Version of 2007-APR-5. Retrieved 2007-MAY-30.
- "Lycanaedae - Theclinae". Natural History Museum of Los Angelese County. Archived from the original on 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
- Glassberg, Jeffrey Butterflies through Binoculars, The West (2001)
- James, David G. and Nunnallee, David Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies (2011)
- Pelham, Jonathan Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada (2008)
- Pyle, Robert Michael The Butterflies of Cascadia (2002)
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