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Overview

Brief Summary

Diversity

Diversity description:

Geometrids, actually, are subdivided into 8 subfamilies, containing 2005 genera, approx valid 23,000 species, and approx 26,300 valid taxa at species/subspecies level  (Hausmann 2001; Scoble, M.J. and A. Hausmann [2007]; Forum Herbulot [2007])  The species diversity is biased as follows: - Archiearinae: 18 species  - Desmobathrinae: 248 species  - Ennominae: 10,671 species*  - Geometrinae: 2,501 species - Larentiinae: 6,232 species  - Oenochrominae: 329 species  - Orthostixinae: 17 species  - Sterrhinae: 2,937 species  - Fossils: 4 species 
 *including the 'Alsophilinae', according to consensus in recent nDNA alanyses (e.g. Young 2006; Yamamoto and Sota 2007)

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Distribution

Geographical Distribution

Geographic Range:

Nearctic, Palearctic, Oriental, Ethiopian, Neotropical, Australian, Oceanic Island

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Physical Description

Morphology

Adult Abdomen Morphology

Reproductive system:

Ditrysian

Oviscapt (ovipositor):

non-piercing

Male coremata:

present, absent

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Diagnostic Description

Synapomorphies

Apomorphies:

Tympanal organ with ansa.  Tendency of reduction of larval ventral legs.  [monophlyetic in all nDNA analyses with deep-phylogeny-approach]

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Ecology

Associations

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Campylocheta inepta is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Entomophaga exoleta is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae
Remarks: Other: uncertain

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Eumenes coarctatus stocks nest with Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Eurysthaea scutellaris is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Oswaldia muscaria is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Pelatachina tibialis is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Phorocera assimilis is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Phorocera obscura is endoparasitoid of larva of Geometridae

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:158689
Specimens with Sequences:142648
Specimens with Barcodes:131843
Species:22521
Species With Barcodes:19633
Public Records:40671
Public Species:4759
Public BINs:5990
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Geometer moth

"Inchworm" redirects here. For other uses, see Inchworm (disambiguation).

The geometer moths or Geometridae (from Greek geo γη or γαια 'the earth' and metron μέτρων 'measure' — refers to the larvae, or inchworms, which appear to "measure the earth" as they move in a looping fashion) are a family of the order Lepidoptera.[1] A very large family, it has around 35,000 species of moths described, and over 1400 species from six subfamilies indigenous to North America alone.[1] A well-known member is the Peppered Moth, Biston betularia, which has been subject of numerous studies in population genetics. Several other geometer moths are notorious pests.

Adults[edit]

Many geometrids have slender abdomens and broad wings which are usually held flat with the hindwings visible. As such they appear rather butterfly-like but in most respects they are typical moths: the majority fly at night, they possess a frenulum to link the wings, and the antennae of the males are often feathered. They tend to blend into the background, often with intricate, wavy patterns on their wings. In some species, females have reduced wings (e.g. winter moth and fall cankerworm).[1]

Most are of moderate size, about 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in wingspan, but a range of sizes occur from 10–50 mm (0.39–1.97 in), and a few species (e.g., Dysphania) reach an even larger size. They have distinctive paired tympanal organs at the base of the abdomen (lacking in flightless females).

Caterpillars[edit]

A Geometridae caterpillar camouflaged as a broken twig
Caterpillar locomotion

The name "Geometridae" ultimately derives from Latin geometra from Greek γεωμέτρης ("geometer, earth-measurer"). This refers to the means of locomotion of the larvae or caterpillars, which lack the full complement of prolegs seen in other Lepidopteran caterpillars, with only two or three pairs at the posterior end instead of the usual five pairs. Equipped with appendages at both ends of the body, a caterpillar will clasp with its front legs and draw up the hind end, then clasp with the hind end (prolegs) and reach out for a new front attachment - creating the impression that it is measuring its journey. The caterpillars are accordingly called loopers, spanworms, or inchworms after their characteristic looping gait. The cabbage looper and soybean looper are not an inchworm, but a caterpillar of a different family. In many species of geometer moths, the inchworms are about 25 mm (1.0 in) long. They tend to be green, grey, or brownish and hide from predators by fading into the background or resembling twigs. Many inchworms, when disturbed, stand erect and motionless on the prolegs, increasing the resemblance. Some have humps or filaments. They are hairy or gregarious and are generally smooth. Typically they eat leaves. However, some eat lichen, flowers or pollen. Some, such as the Hawaiian species of the genus Eupithecia, are even carnivorous. Certain destructive inchworms are called cankerworms.

Systematics[edit]

The placement of the example species follows a 1990 systematic treatment; it may be outdated. Families are tentatively sorted in a phylogenetic sequence, from the most basal to the most advanced. Traditionally the Archiearinae were held to be the most ancient of the geometer moth lineages, as their caterpillars have well-developed prolegs. However, it nowadays seems that the Larentiinae are actually older, as indicated by their numerous plesiomorphies and DNA sequence data. They are either an extremely basal lineage of the Geometridae – together with the Sterrhinae –, or might even be considered a separate family of Geometroidea. As regards the Archiearinae, some species that were traditionally placed therein actually seem to belong to other subfamilies; altogether it seems that in a few cases, the prolegs which were originally lost in the ancestral geometer moths re-evolved as an atavism.[2][3]

Larentiinae – about 5,800 species, includes the pug moths, mostly temperate. Might be a distinct family.[2][3]

Sterrhinae – about 2,800 species, mostly tropical. Might belong to same family as Larentiinae.[2]

Desmobathrinae – pantropical

Geometrinae – emerald moths, about 2,300 named species, most tropical

Archiearinae – 12[verification needed] species; Holarctic, southern Andes and Tasmania, though the latter some seem to belong to the Ennominae.[3] Larvae have all the prolegs except most are reduced.

Oenochrominae – in some treatments used as a "wastebin taxon" for genera that are difficult to place in other groups.

Alsophilinae – a few genera, defoliators of trees. Might belong in the Ennominae, tribe Boarmiini.[3]

Ennominae – about 9,700 species, including some defoliating pests; global distribution.

Geometridae genera incertae sedis include:

Hydriomena? protrita holotype fore-wing

Fossil Geometridae taxa include:

In popular culture[edit]

The popular children's song "Inchworm" is sung by Danny Kaye in the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Robin McLeod, John and Jane Balaban, Beatriz Moisset & Chuck Entz (April 27, 2009). "Family Geometridae - Geometrid Moths". BugGuide. Retrieved April 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Erki Õunap, Jaan Viidalepp, Urmas Saarma (2008). "Systematic position of Lythriini revised: transferred from Larentiinae to Sterrhinae (Lepidoptera, Geometridae)". Zoologica Scripta 37 (4): 405–413. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2008.00327.x. 
  3. ^ a b c d Catherine J. Young (2008). PDF excerpt "Characterisation of the Australian Nacophorini using adult morphology, and phylogeny of the Geometridae based on morphological characters". Zootaxa 1736: 1–141. 
  4. ^ Cockerell, T. D. A. (1922). "A fossil Moth from Florissant, Colorado". American Museum Novitates 34: 1–2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hausmann, A. (2001): The geometrid moths of Europe. Apollo Books.
  • Minet, J. & Scoble, M. J. (1999): The Drepanoid / Geometroid Assemblage. In: N. P. Kristensen (ed.): Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom (Vol. 4: Arthropoda: Insecta. Part 35: Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies vol. 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography): Chapter 17. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin & New York.
  • Scoble, M. J. (ed.) (1999): Geometrid Moths of the World: A Catalogue. CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0-643-06304-8
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