Facultative blood feeding on live animals or carrion is widespread within Lepidoptera. Male moths within the genus Calyptra are known to use their fruit-piercing mouthparts to occasionally feed on mammalian blood. The Palearctic species Calyptra thalictri is known to exhibit differential feeding behaviors that appear to be based on geographic location. This species is known to pierce fruit throughout its range but has recently been reported to also feed on human blood under experimental conditions in the Russian Far East. Here we document the distribution of this widespread species, reconstruct its evolutionary history, and calculate its genetic diversity for the first time. Recently collected samples are combined with museum specimens to model suitable environments for this taxon. Our findings suggest that while the blood-feeding populations are not monophyletic, there is geographical structure. Our analysis of macroclimate variables suggests that altitude and precipitation are the environmental variables most critical to habitat suitability in this lineage.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© American Society of Parasitologists 2014.