Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 703–721 | Cite as

Species diversity and geographical distribution of Scopulini moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Sterrhinae) on a world-wide scale

  • Pasi SihvonenEmail author
  • Mika Siljander


This study draws together information on several aspects of species diversity in Scopulini (Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Sterrhinae) on a world-wide scale. Eight variables, describing for example rates of species description, synonymy rates, and geographical distribution of the Scopulini and its constituent genera, were coded for all putatively valid species of Scopulini and were incorporated into a computerized database. The dynamics of species descriptions per decade shows that it peaked around 1900, remained high until the 1940s, and the cumulative curve is yet to reach an asymptote. Both absolute and cumulative curves of species descriptions per decade have taken a variety of forms in the different biogeographical regions. Amongst biogeographical regions the number of synonyms per species is broadly related, that is, the more valid names, the more synonyms. The distributions of the total number of synonyms associated with valid species names and the numbers of authors describing different numbers of species are both right-skewed. Based on the distribution of the type localities of the putatively valid species, the Scopulini are a cosmopolitan group. The biogeographical regions where most species have been described from were found to be the African, especially sub-Saharan areas, and the Orient, whereas the low number of described species of the Neotropics is noticeable. The number of described species in relation to latitude follows roughly the shape of a normal distribution, being highest at low latitudes with a peak in temperate zones in the Northern hemisphere, and decreasing towards higher latitudes. The underlying causes for patterns of species descriptions are discussed, and the results of our analyses are in part used to estimate actual numbers of the Scopulini species occurring in each geographical area.


Biodiversity Glossotrophia Latitude Problepsis Scopula Species description Synonymy 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, Finnish Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of HelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Metapopulation Research Group, Department of Ecology and SystematicsUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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