Recent DNA barcoding of generalist insect herbivores has revealed complexes of cryptic species within named species. We evaluated the species concept for a common generalist moth occurring in New Guinea and Australia, Homona mermerodes, in light of host plant records and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I haplotype diversity. Genetic divergence among H. mermerodes moths feeding on different host tree species was much lower than among several Homona species. Genetic divergence between haplotypes from New Guinea and Australia was also less than interspecific divergence. Whereas molecular species identification methods may reveal cryptic species in some generalist herbivores, these same methods may confirm polyphagy when identical haplotypes are reared from multiple host plant families. A lectotype for the species is designated, and a summarized bibliography and illustrations including male genitalia are provided for the first time.
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- Homona mermerodes
- Host specificity