Species richness of Eurasian Zephyrus hairstreaks (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Theclini) with implications on historical biogeography: An NDM/VNDM approach

Hailing Zhuang, Masaya Yago, Josef Settele, Xiushan Li, Rei Ueshima, Nick V. Grishin, Min Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aim A database based on distributional records of Eurasian Zephyrus hairstreaks (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Theclini) was compiled to analyse their areas of endemism (AoEs), species richness and distribution patterns, to explore their locations of past glacial refugia and dispersal routes. Methods Over 2000 Zephyrus hairstreaks occurrences are analysed using the NDM/VNDM algorithm, for the recognition of AoEs. Species richness was calculated by using the option ‘Number of different classes’ to count the different classes of a variable presented in each 3.0×3.0 grid cell, and GIS software was used to visualize distribution patterns of endemic species. Results Centres of species richness of Zephyrus hairstreaks are situated in the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (EQTP), Hengduan Mountain Region (HDMR) and the Qinling Mountain Region (QLMR). Latitudinal gradients in species richness show normal distribution with the peak between 25 N and 35 N in the temperate zone, gradually decreasing towards the poles. Moreover, most parts of central and southern China, especially the area of QLMR-EQTP-HDMR, were identified as AoEs that may have played a significant role as refugia during Quaternary global cooling. There are four major distributional patterns of Zephyrus hairstreaks in Eurasia: Sino-Japanese, Sino-Himalayan, high-mountain and a combined distribution covering all three patterns. Conclusions Zephyrus hairstreaks probably originated at least 23–24 Myr ago in E. Asia between 25 N to 35 N in the temperate zone. Cenozoic orogenies caused rapid speciation of this tribe and extrusion of the Indochina block resulted in vicariance between the Sino-Japanese and the Sino-Himalayan patterns. The four distribution patterns provided two possible dispersal directions: Sino-Japanese dispersal and Sino-Himalayan dispersal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0191049
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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