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The sun-moths (lepidoptera: castniidae) of Victoria, with a detailed study of the pale sun-moth (Synemon selene klug, 1850)

The sun-moths (family Castniidae) are a distinctive group of monocot-feeding diurnal Lepidoptera that contains a high proportion of threatened species worldwide. Seven of the eight Victorian Synemon species are considered as threatened. This study has determined through extensive fieldwork that most of these species are now restricted to very small remnants of their particular habitats. These findings have been integrated into a review of the current distribution, biology and habitat requirements of all the Victorian species. This has enabled recommendations for their long-term conservation and management to be made. Special attention was paid to the Pale Sun-moth (Synemon selene Klug, 1850) because it appeared to be nationally endangered and without a government strategy for its conservation. Also, there was strong circumstantial evidence of complete parthenogenesis within all of its Victorian populations. The Victorian occurrences are shown to be parthenogenetic, although specimens of both sexes are known from a ?now-extinct population near Two Wells, South Australia. It was also established that these parthenogenetic populations include five distinct morphs, two or three of which occur sympatrically at four localities in the Wimmera area. Parthenogenetic populations of these morphs cannot interbreed, this potentially restricting their genetic diversity. The extent of genetic diversity was examined with all parthenogenetic Victorian morphs of S. selene. DNA sequencing of 1515 bp of the COI gene revealed a maximum divergence level of 12 bp between some of the morphs and 1 to 2 bp within some morphs. This level of genetic diversity implies that these morphs have continued to evolve in the absence of males through time. This study has highlighted the special academic interest of S. selene and the urgent need for its adequate conservation. Some important directions for future research on the species are also discussed. / Master of Applied Science
Date January 2007
CreatorsDouglas, Fabian
PublisherUniversity of Ballarat
Source SetsAustraliasian Digital Theses Program
Detected LanguageEnglish
RightsCopyright Fabian Douglas

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