Submitted to: Blackwell Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2007
Publication Date: March 12, 2009
Citation: Pogue, M.G. 2009. Lepidoptera Biodiversity. In: Foottit, R., Adler, P., editors. Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society. 1st edition. Blackwell Science Publishing. Oxford, England. p. 263-293.
Interpretive Summary: Moths and butterflies, comprising more than 150,000 species worldwide, are major agricultural pests causing billions of dollars of damage annually. Many are potential invasive species and agricultural pests, which must be documented by the inventory process. Documenting the biodiversity of moths is important because of continued human threat to the earth’s environment and their importance in agricultural systems. This paper presents the latest estimates of the overall species numbers of moths in the world based on their evolutionary relationships. The importance of conducting inventories of moths is to provide scientific data that is used to make informed decisions about land-use and conservation strategies, and to document and describe the earth’s fauna. The results will be useful for general scientists, entomologists, land use managers, and conservationists that work on using biodiversity data to manage resources and to predict conservation hotspots containing the greatest diversity of species.
There are approximately 155,000 species of Lepidoptera described for the world’s fauna. The numbers of species for each superfamily are superimposed on a preliminary phylogeny of the Lepidoptera. The most derived group, Macrolepidoptera, contains more than half of the world’s fauna and the primitive superfamilies contain less than 2%. Procedures are outlined on conducting and analyzing biodiversity inventories.