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Phylogenetic analysis and redefinition of the maculataspecies group of Epicauta(Meloidae: Meloinae: Epicautini)

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A cladistic analysis based on 81 morphological characters was performed in order to determine the phylogenetic relationships of 11 species of Epicautafrom South America. We find that the 11 South American species constitute a monophyletic group together with all the North American species of the Epicauta maculatagroup. Within this clade, the 11 species from South America conforms an apical monophyletic group within the E. maculatagroup. We propose to maintain the validity of the Epicauta maculatagroup, but also to redefine it with new characters. The South American species of the Epicauta maculatagroup are also described and illustrated. We propose the following nomenclatural changes: Epicauta rosilloiMartínez, junior synonym of Epicauta minutepunctataBorchmann; Epicauta fourcadeiDenier, junior synonym of Epicauta fulvicornis(Burmeister), and Epicauta breyeriDenier, junior synonym of Epicauta nigropunctataBlanchard. We provide an identification key, new host plant associations, and updated geographic distribution.

Affiliations: 1: aLaboratorio de Entomología CICyTTP-CONICET, Materi y España, FCyT-UADER, Diamante, Entre Ríos, Argentina; 2: bLaboratorio de Entomología IADIZA-CCT CONICET-Mendoza, Av. A. Ruiz Leal s/n, Parque Gral. San Martín, Mendoza CC507, 5500 Argentina


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