The Ablerus / Azotus Debate:

 

The decision to synonymize Azotus with Ablerus will be investigated, as there is debate over this action. 

Morphological characters that once separated these genera included the general habitus shape and wing morphology.  Hayat (1983) noted that the body of Azotus tends to be elongated and depressed while that of Ablerus tends to be shorter and convex.  Darling and Johnson (1984) noted that Ablerus and Azotus could be separated on the basis of the shape of the apex of the stigmal vein: narrow and linear in Ablerus and expanded and rounded in Azotus.  Furthermore they can be distinguished on the basis of the discal setae of the forewing: all of uniform length in Ablerus and with patches of distinctly longer setae in Azotus

Molecular analysis of the D2 region of 28S rDNA is being currently being conducted.  Very preliminary analysis reveals a monophyletic Azotinae clade with a monophyletic Ablerus clade within and Azotus basal to the Ablerus clade.  It should be emphasized that these are very preliminary findings conducted with few Azotinae taxa.  Only the inclusion of more taxa will reveal whether Azotus renders the Ablerus clade paraphyletic.

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 Ablerus sp. from Ecuador