Comparative anatomy of wings and antennae in Trichoptera and Lepidoptera: all dressed up but inordinately indifferent?



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Trichoptera (caddisflies) are an order of small insects that are closely related to the Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). Trichoptera and Lepidoptera together comprise the superorder Amphiesmenoptera. Lepidoptera may have evolved from Trichoptera, or they may have their most recent common ancestor in the superorder Amphiesmenoptera, which includes extinct insects that are neither clearly trichopteran or lepidopteran. The main differences between Trichoptera and Lepidoptera are that Trichoptera have hairy wings while Lepidoptera have scaley wings and that caddisfly larvae are generally aquatic and lepidopteran caterpillars are generally terrestrial. Another commonly held distinction has been that the M4 vein in the fore wings is present in Trichoptera but absent in Lepidoptera. In 1973, however, the M4 vein was found to be present in one lepidopteran group The family Agathiphagidae . The discovery of the agathiphagids in 1952 has added some confusion to the basal phylogeny of the Lepidoptera. There are two competing theories for the basal phylogeny of the Lepidoptera. Kristensen s theory is that the order of Lepidopteran evolution is Micropterigidae + (Agathiphagidae + (Heterobathmiidae + (Eriocraniidae + Coelolepida))). The alternative theory is Shields , which is Agathiphagidae + (Micropterigidae + (Heterobathmiidae + (Eriocraniidae + (Coelolepida))). With this project, I aimed to improve our understanding of the relationship between Trichoptera and Lepidoptera and to analyze the importance of the line drawn between these orders.



Trichoptera, basal, Lepidoptera, wings, scales, hairs, evolution