Christi Jaeger graduated in 2011 from the Environmental and Conservation Sciences program at the University of Alberta. During her undergraduate program, she completed a research project in Dr. Felix Sperling's lab in which she used morphology and DNA to examine the boundaries between two putative Phaneta species of Alberta. She has continued working on Phaneta moths in the Sperling lab since 2011, with an emphasis on molecular analysis, and has presented her findings at the 2012 Lepidopterists' Society meeting in Denver. For the past 4 years, Christi has also worked for Natural Resources Canada under the supervision of Greg Pohl, where her interest in micro-lepidoptera has flourished. Currently, Christi is interested in pursuing a MSc in insect systematics, particularly in Lepidoptera in interesting new places.
Presentation Title: Taxonomy of Phaneta (Lepidoptera:Tortricidae): Testing a Morphological Perspective
Species delimitation is one of the most important operations in systematics, conservation biology, and natural history. In cryptic species groups, it is difficult to define where species boundaries should be placed. Phaneta moths of Alberta have presented this challenge to entomologists for the last century, especially moths within the P. tarandana complex. Using a total evidence approach, we diagnosed two major groups within Phaneta to provide an effective means of distinguishing them. We examined wing maculation, wing fringe, head appendages, genitalia, locality, and flight time in 138 specimens. We focused on the characters that allowed tests of the prior taxonomic arrangement. A new character in Phaneta, scale morphology, revealed new evidence supporting the hypothesis that P. tarandana and P. montanana are two distinct species. In addition to morphological characters, we sequenced CO1 and ITS2 DNA to test the utility of scale morphology in separating species.