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Agathiphaga wing vestiture revisited: evidence for complex early evolution of lepidopteran scales (Lepidoptera: Agathiphagidae)

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Agathiphaga moths lack microtrichiation on most of the fore-wing upperside (apart from a basal anterior area), while it well developed on the hind-wing upperside and on the underside of both wing pairs. Scales on the fore-wing upperside largely occur in clusters, which then often comprise one larger, notched/truncate and pigmented 'cover' scale, and one or more smaller, weakly pigmented/unpigmented, smoothly rounded 'ground' scale. The former scale type proved to be hollow and have trabeculae in the inner lumen. However, it has no perforations in the abwing lamella; hence the absence of such perforations (ore even vestiges thereof, in the form of small depressions) from a scale is not necessarily indicative that it is of the solid type. The ground scales, like all hind-wing and underside scales, are of the commonplace solid type which is of general occurrence in non-glossatan moths. Evolutionary aspects of scale morphology in basal moths are discussed. The origin of hollow wing-surface scales cannot have been a single, unreversed event, but independent evolution of this scale types in the Agathiphagidae and the Coelolepida (= Acanthopteroctetidae + Lophocoronidae + Myoglossata) remains the most parsimonious assumption.

Affiliations: 1: T. J. Simonsen & N. P. Kristensen, Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen, Univer- sitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark (; npkris-, Email:


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