Molecular studies of hawkmoths

Our research has created the first comprehensive phylogeny for hawkmoths.

Using DNA sequences from five nuclear genes, a large-scale molecular analysis of hawkmoths has been completed.

These studies have:

  • challenged current concepts based on morphology
  • provided a basis for new classification
  • provided insights into the biogeography of hawkmoths

Further research, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Florida, hopes to use further DNA sequences, in conjunction with a new analysis of morphological characters, to refine and expand the phylogeny to include all genera and major species-groups of sphingids.

In further collaboration with colleagues at Boise University, Idaho, this phylogeny will be used to underpin studies investigating the predator-prey relationship between bats and hawkmoths.

Research leader

Ian Kitching
Dr Ian Kitching

Research entomologist specialising in Sphingidae or hawkmoths.