On the origin of geometrid moths: the phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Geometrid moths represent one of the largest radiations of Lepidoptera. Phylogenetic analyses based on morphological and molecular data supports the monophyly of this group of moths. However, the subfamilial and tribal compositions of major groups are still unresolved, leading to unstable classifications. In this thesis, I investigate the phylogenetic relationships of higher geometrid taxa with the aim of resolving the tribal composition of the major lineages and provide a phylogenetic reference framework as a basis for elucidating their evolutionary relationships.
I built and analyzed the most comprehensive molecular dataset for geometrid moths to date. The molecular data were obtained by Sanger and Whole-Genome shotgun sequencing techniques, and analysed phylogenetically using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods.
My refined phylogenetic hypothesis revealed rampant polyphyly among several subfamilies, as well as among a large number of tribes. Based on the molecular data, I described a new subfamily of Geometridae called Epidesmiinae. To further evaluate the robustness of the molecular-based phylogenetic hypotheses, I also incorporated studies of morphological traits across the subfamily Epidesmiinae. I further proposed 15 new tribes across several subfamilies. Two new tribes belong to the subfamily Sterrhinae, eight to the subfamily Larentiinae, four to the Ennominae and one to the Geometrinae. Finally, I synonymized several groups (genera and tribes), proposed new tribal combinations, new subfamily status and discussed the most efficient way to deal with the polyphyly of higher taxa to arrive at a classification that reflects the evolutionary relationships in Geometridae.
The phylogenetic hypotheses generated in this study were also used for interpreting the evolutionary trends of the most-species tribe of Geometridae, Boarmiini. Boarmiines were suspected to constitute a rapid radiation of geometrids. In this study we provide a time-calibrated tree, biogeographical and diversification analyses to try to understand the evolutionary patterns of this group of moths.
Finally, I provide a species list and barcodes for geometrid moths of Colombia. The data obtained in this study is the first inventory of species numbers in one of the most biodiversity-rich countries of South America, Colombia.
The results of my research highlight the compelling need to analyze more taxa from the entire global range of the family to create a robust evolutionary hypothesis that can be used in classification and in other studies in Geometridae.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Systematics
  • Evolutionary Biology
Original languageEnglish
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2021 Feb 12
Place of PublicationLund
  • Lund
Print ISBNs978-91-7895-734-7
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7895-733-0
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2021-02-12 Time: 13:00 Place: Blue Hall, Ecology Building] Join via zoom: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/7482020156?pwd=N3RhbmxLa0FiWEM4VGZZelhIZUJrQT09 External reviewer(s) Name: Rougerie, Rodolphe Title: Assistant Professor Affiliation: Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité ---

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