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Brenthis Hübner 1819

Thomas Simonsen, Niklas Wahlberg, and Andrew V. Z. Brower
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taxon links [down<--]Argynnini Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Argynnini


There are currently four species recognized in the genus Brenthis. These small to medium sized fritillaries are distributed throughout the Palaearctic (Tollman & Lewington 1999, Tuzov 2003). All Brenthis species lack silver spots on the undersides of the wings. Contrary to most Argynnini, Brenthis larvae do not feed on violets, but instead on members of the rose-family and on legumes (Tuzov 2003).


Putative autapomorphies for Brenthis include (Simonsen 2006):

Putative synapomorphies for B. hecate, B. mofidii (Simonsen 2006):

The sister group relationship between B. ino and B. daphne is supported by molecular and combined charactersets only and no morphological synapomorphies have yet been identified.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

All four species of Brenthis, have been sampled for morphology based phylogenetic studies (Simonsen 2006). The study by Simonsen et al. (2006) did not sample B. mofidii,  but recent molecular data (N. Wahlberg, unpublished) corroborate the position of B. mofidii as the sister species to B. hecate. The monophyly of the genus appears to be stable and well-supported by both molecular and morphological data.


Simonsen, T. J. 2006. Fritillary phylogeny, classification and larval hostplants: reconstructed mainly on the basis of male and female genitalic morphology (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Argynnini). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 89: 627-673.

Simonsen, T. J., N. Wahlberg, A. V. Z. Brower, and R. de Jong. 2006. Morphology, molecules and Fritillaries: approaching a stable phylogeny for Argynnini (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Insect Systematics & Evolution 37: 405-418.

Tollman, T. & Lewington, R. 1999. Butterflies of Britain and Europe. Collins Field Guide. Harper Collins Publishers.

Tuzov, V. K. 2003. Guide to the butterflies of the Palaearctic Region. Nymphalidae part I. Tribe Argynnini: Argynnis, Issoria, Brenthis, Argyreus. 64 pp. Omnes Artes, Milano, Italy.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
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Scientific Name Brenthis hecate
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By Niklas Wahlberg
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © Niklas Wahlberg
Scientific Name Brenthis ino
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Brenthis ino 2
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2007 YannickC
About This Page

Thomas Simonsen
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Niklas Wahlberg
University of Turku, Finland

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Thomas Simonsen at , Niklas Wahlberg at , and Andrew V. Z. Brower at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Simonsen, Thomas, Niklas Wahlberg, and Andrew V. Z. Brower. 2007. Brenthis Hübner 1819. Version 25 March 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Brenthis/70411/2007.03.25 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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