New World geometrid moths (Lepidoptera: Geometridae): Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, taxonomic updates and description of 11 new tribes

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We analysed a molecular dataset of 1206 Geometroidea terminal taxa. In this paper we focus on New World taxa, with 102 Nearctic terminal taxa (97 of which have not previously been subject to molecular phylogenetic analysis) and 398 Neotropical terminal taxa (375 not previously analysed). Up to eleven molecular markers per specimen were included: one mitochondrial (COI) and ten proteincoding nuclear gene regions (Wingless, ArgK, MDH, RpS5, GAPDH, IDH, Ca-ATPase, Nex9, EF-1alpha, CAD). The data were analysed using maximum likelihood approach as implemented in IQ-TREE and RAxML. Photographs of almost all voucher specimens are provided together with relevant type material in illustrated electronic catalogues in order to make identities and taxonomic changes transparent. Our analysis concentrates on the level of tribes and genera, many of which are shown to be para-or polyphyletic. In an effort towards a natural system of monophyletic taxa, we propose taxonomic changes: We establish 11 new tribe names (Larentiinae, authors Brehm, Murillo-Ramos & Ounap): Brabirodini new tribe, Chrismopterygini new tribe, Psaliodini new tribe, Pterocyphini new tribe, Rhinurini new tribe, Ennadini new tribe, Cophocerotini new tribe, Erebochlorini new tribe; (Ennominae, authors Brehm, Murillo-Ramos & Sihvonen): Euangeronini new tribe, Oenoptilini new tribe, Pyriniini new tribe. We assign 27 genera for the first time to a tribe, propose 29 new tribe assignments and 26 new generic combinations, we synonymize one tribe and seven genera, revive one tribe, and propose to exclude 119 species from non-monophyletic genera (incertae sedis). Our study provides the data and foundation for numerous future taxonomic revisions of New World geometrid moths. We also examine broad-scale biogeographic patterns of New World Geometridae: While Nearctic species are often nested within the predominantly Neotropical clades, the austral South American fauna forms distinct clades, hinting at a long isolation from the remaining New World fauna.


  • Gunnar Brehm
  • Leidys Murillo-Ramos
  • Pasi Sihvonen
  • Axel Hausmann
  • B. Christian Schmidt
  • Erki Õunap
  • Alfred Moser
  • Rolf Mörtter
  • Daniel Bolt
  • Florian Bodner
  • Aare Lindt
  • Luis E. Parra
  • Niklas Wahlberg
External organisations
  • Institut für Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum
  • Universidad de Sucre
  • University of Concepción
  • Finnish Museum of Natural History
  • Zoologische Staatssammlung München
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • University of Tartu
  • Estonian University of Life Sciences - EMÜ
  • Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
  • Federal University of Paraná
  • University of Vienna
  • Estonian Museum of Natural History
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Systematics
  • Evolutionary Biology


  • Geometridae, Molecular phylogeny, New tribes, Paraphyly, Polyphyly, Systematics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-486
JournalArthropod Systematics and Phylogeny
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch