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n. pl.1.(Zool.) A division of Lepidoptera including all the butterflies. They differ from other Lepidoptera in having club-shaped antennæ.
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The distribution of the Rhopalocera in the Americas became established during the Pliocene, when the mountain ranges known as Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental arose, resulting in the peculiar Y-shaped pattern (the "Mexican biogeographic Y") of Neotropical species (Morrone & Marquez 2003; Vargas et al.