Species identity crisis in SE Asian fireflies: will the real Pteroptyx please stand up?

Wan F.A. Jusoh, Lesley Ballantyne

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


The status and composition of the genus Pteroptyx Olivier 1902 has changed significantly since it was first described. The genus name Pteroptyx (Ptero- and -ptyx) is an epithet in Greek for “folded wings” denoting the deflexed elytral apex in males. This and the trisinuate or trilobed terminal abdominal ventrite were the defining and only characters for taxonomic identification given by Olivier. Pteroptyx was erected for two species, Luciola malaccae Gorham and Luciola testacea Motschulsky, which was misidentified by Olivier. However, our recent phylogenetic analyses using combined morphological and molecular data for 158 taxa revealed a distinct Pteroptyx clade as a morphologically variable genus with Poluninius selangoriensis Ballantyne being synonymised with L. testacea, the type species, which is redescribed from the type series. An expanded generic description of Pteroptyx now divides the genus into three groups: (a) a group of Pteroptyx species with the metafemoral comb (MFC), bipartite light organ in ventrite 7 (V7) but lacking lobes arising along the posterior margin of tergite 8 (T8) and including P. malaccae; (b) a group of Pteroptyx species with characters as (a) but with presence of lobes arising along the posterior margin of T8 including P. tener; and (c) a group of Pteroptyx species which have either entire or bipartite LO in V7, with or without MFC and are without deflexed elytra. In this study, we particularly highlight species from (a) which presents a new species Pteroptyx balingiana Jusoh sp. nov. and confirms the identity of Pteroptyx gelasina Ballantyne as a distinct species. We also further discuss the three morphological subdivisions within Pteroptyx malaccae (Gorham), which brings us back to the question of will the real Pteroptyx please stand up?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
Event2017 International Firefly Symposium - Taipei Zoo, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: 24 Apr 201728 Apr 2017
https://web.archive.org/web/20170522165404/http://www.ifs2017taipei.org:80/about/ (Conference website)
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59028899b3db2bade49af818/t/59b2d35149fc2b50d078b3d1/1504891730888/Proceedings+of+2017+IFS.pdf (Conference proceedings)


Conference2017 International Firefly Symposium
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China
OtherOn behalf of all my colleagues in the organizing committee, it gives me a great pleasure to announce as well as invite you at our International Firefly Symposium 2017 (IFS 2017) during April 24-28, 2017 at Taipei, Taiwan.

The major firefly season and people celebrate the beauty of twinkling around the island is between late March and June. Following the tradition of previous firefly symposia, we will hold this meeting at the peak of firefly season. The symposium has been designed to bring all the firefly researchers to exchange their professional experiences to update the participants with current research advances. Please encourage your colleagues and students to attend the symposium and share, in either way of oral or poster presentation, the latest results of firefly researches with participants from all around the world.

In addition to a serial of oral and poster presentations in the first three days, all participants are invited to take a free field trip to Alishan National Scenic Area (ANSA). About 2/3 of firefly species in Taiwan have been recorded in this beautiful area so far. The eco-tourism for firefly in ANSA became vigorously since 2000. We will have a 2-day workshop in ANSA on the issues of conservation and eco-tourism of firefly. Thanks to the Administration of ANSA, this field trip is fully supported by the Administration and no extra cost to our participants!
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