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Welcome to the Geometridae campaign of the Lepidoptera Barcode of Life.

The moth family Geometridae, whose members are also known as loopers, is the second most species-rich family of Lepidoptera worldwide. Since this megadiverse family includes specialists inhabiting all ecological niches, they are well established as a model group for numerous biodiversity assessments in temperate and tropical regions. Including many pest species, the family is also economically very important for agriculture and forest management. Adult specimens are small to medium-sized (wingspan of 0.7 – 12 cm), and usually cryptically colored. They are mostly nocturnal; their resting position is typically ‘planiform’, i.e. with wings lying flat on the substrate. Although geometrids occur everywhere except in the Antarctic, their diversity peaks in tropical South America, Africa and South-east Asia. Because of the destruction and fragmentation of their habitats, large parts of this mega-diverse fauna may be at risk of extinction.

Geometrid taxonomy is well developed for temperate regions, but urgently requires further large-scale revisions for tropical areas. Nearly 23,000 valid species have been described to date and a comprehensive, updated checklist is posted on this website (Scoble and Hausmann 2007) based on a previously published catalogue (Scoble 1999). Although there is no comprehensive morphology-based phylogeny available for the whole family, the relationships between subfamilies and many tribes were recently assessed from the analysis of several nuclear genes (Young 2006; Yamamoto and Sota 2007; Regier et al. 2009), largely confirming the traditional classification derived from morphological traits, but also bringing new evidence to the higher classification of these moths.

The global DNA barcoding campaign for the world fauna of Geometridae was initiated in December 2006 as one of the first global campaigns in Lepidoptera. Many world experts for this family are involved with the Forum Herbulot ( playing a crucial role in providing samples and contributing taxonomic expertise toward the goal of assembling a comprehensive reference library. Crystallizing and diffusing that expertise around the globe, this effort will enable reliable species identification of any species, anywhere, at any stage of its development. The campaign is quickly progressing, with current rates of 2,000 to 3,000 additional species per year. The massive amount of newly generated genetic data represents an invaluable source of information that complements other sets of characters, making it possible to address many existing taxonomic questions, synonymies, and revealing many new cases of overlooked or cryptic diversity.

iBOL Overview
The International Barcode of Life project (iBOL) is the largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken. Work over the past five years has produced DNA barcode records for more than 50,000 species and laid the groundwork for the official launch of iBOL in July 2010. More than 25 countries are involved and major commitments have been made toward the Phase 1 operating budget of $150 million.

By 2015, consortium members will have entered DNA barcode records from 5 million specimens representing 500,000 species into the interactive Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD), creating the foundation for a subsequent push towards a DNA barcode reference library for all of Earth’s eukaryotes.

iBOL is a not-for-profit organization overseen by an international board of directors representing funding organizations. The iBOL Secretariat is housed by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph.


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