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Eunica Huebner 1819

Andrew V. Z. Brower and Niklas Wahlberg
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taxon links [down<--]Epicaliini Interpreting the tree
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Phylogenetic hypothesis of species in Eunica from Jenkins (1990)
Containing group: Epicaliini


The genus Eunica was extensively revised by Jenkins (1990), who also included a cladistic analysis of 55 morphological characters. Species of Eunica are found mainly in South America with a few species found in Central America and the Greater Antilles. The genus comprises 40 currently accepted species (Lamas 2004). The host plants have been recorded for only a few species, but in line with other species in Biblidinae, these are in the plant families Euphorbiaceae and Burseraceae.


According to Jenkins (1990) the diagnostic features of Eunica are:

  1. Male uncus with a terminal small, usually separate, extended and curved beak
  2. Male tegumen elongate and often constricted posteriorly
  3. Male gnathos reduced, narrowed or shortened, rarely with a gnathos arm and rarely fused or joined ventrally
  4. Forewing with base of costa somewhat angled
  5. Male wings black or brown usually marked or glossed with iridescent blue, females dimorphic, usually brown with white maculae or band on forewing

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogenetic hypothesis for Eunica is based solely on morphological characters at the moment. The tree has a consistency index of 0.40, meaning that many of the characters are homoplasious. Clearly more data (both morphological and molecular) are needed to corroborate the relationships shown. The study by Jenkins (1990) did have several well-supported results. First, he showed that the species Eunica cuvierii (previously placed in the monotypic genus Libythina) belongs in Eunica. Several of the clades in the tree above are supported by unique synapomorphies.


Jenkins, D. W. 1990. Neotropical Nymphalidae. VIII. Revision of Eunica. Bulletin of the Allyn Museum 131:1-175.

Lamas, G. (ed) 2004. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist: Part 4A, Hesperioidea - Papilionoidea. Scientific Publishers, Gainsville, Florida.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Eunica viola
Location Peru
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Identified By Niklas Wahlberg
Sex Male
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Copyright © Niklas Wahlberg
About This Page

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

Niklas Wahlberg
Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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

Citing this page:

Brower, Andrew V. Z. and Wahlberg, Niklas. 2006. Eunica Huebner 1819. Version 16 October 2006 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Eunica/70457/2006.10.16 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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