Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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Subfamily Geometrinae Stephens, 1829


The Australian Geometrinae were revised by Meyrick (1888b) and the world fauna was treated in Genera Insectorum by L.B. Prout (1912a), in Lepidopterorum Catalogus by L.B. Prout (1913a) and the Indoaustralian fauna in Seitz's Macrolepidoptera of the World by L.B. Prout (1921-1934). The Australian species were revised by Turner (1910).

As many as eighteen tribes have been proposed by various authors for the Geometrinae (Inoue 1961), (Ferguson 1969, 1985) and (Viidalepp 1981) (see Forum Herbulot 2003 for a summary). This checklist previously followed the conservative approach suggested by Holloway (1996) in which the sub-family is split into the monogeneric Dysphanini and most of the remainder into the Geometrini, as the Australian fauna were not sufficiently well-known in many cases to confidently assign to alternative tribal systems. However the Geometrinae fall also into two natural groupings: a group of stout bodied species, often grey or grey-green in colour (Pseuodoterpnini), and a group of fragile moths, called emeralds overseas, which are slender and usually bright green. The slender emeralds have not been comprehensively revised on an Australian basis since Turner (1910), and Prout (1921-1934) is the most recent review.

However, progress has recently been made in the classification of the subfamily at the tribal level using both molecular and morphological characters, and with several Australian taxa. Murillo-Ramos et al. (2019) established the subfamily as monophyletic with Eumelea as the sister taxon to the subfamily. Tribal classificaiton is still somewhat problematic in the Geometrinae, but several taxonomic changes at this level are well-supported by both Ban et al. (2018) and Murillo-Ramos et al. 2019. The monogeneric tribes Agathiini plus Ornithospilini are sister to the rest of the Geometrinae. Aracimini, Neohipparchini, Timandromorphini, Geometrini and Comibaenini were all recovered as monophyletic groups but Synchlorini were found to lie within the Nemoriini (neither tribe occurs in Australia). The tribal placement of Eucyclodes remaines in doubt as it was not recovered within a tribe but as sister to the Nemoriini; however Australian species of this genus were not included in this study. The Australian taxa treated by these analyses have been reclassified accordingly; those that have not have been left under the Geometrini.

The Pseudoterpnini have now been raised to tribal status having previouly been treated previously in the checklist as a sub-tribe of the Geometrini. The Pseudoterpnini were revised by Goldfinch (1929) in a comprehensive illustrated paper and more recently by Pitkin et al. (2007) . Ban et al. (2018) found that Pseudoterpna and Pingasa form a monophyletic group, separate from a well-supported clade of the other pseudoterpnines (sensu Pitkin) included in the analysis; the latter clade, named Pseudoterpnini s. l. did not include any of the four genera formerly associated with the type genus by Pitkin, Pseudoterpnini s. str.(see above). Similar relationships, with broader sampling of taxa and genera, were recovered by Murillo-Ramos et al. (2019) who revived the Archaeobalbini for the group, dubbed Pseudoterpnini s. l. by Ban et al. This tribe does not include Australian taxa.

Interestingly, Murillo-Ramos et al. recovered the common and widespread Australian pseudoterpnine Crypsiphona as an isolated and separate lineage, sister to Hemetheini. As few Australian genera have been included in this recent work and the classification of these tribes is still inconclusive, more work needs to be conducted to arrive at a stable taxonomy for the Australian 'pseudoterpnines'. Most of the Pseudoterpnini belong to endemic genera and there are a few endemic genera in the emeralds, but in both groups some genera are shared with New Guinea (McQuillan & Edwards 1996).


General References

Ban, X., Jiang, N., Cheng, R., Xue, D. & Han, H. 2018. Tribal classification and phylogeny of Geometrinae (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) inferred from seven gene regions. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 184: 653-672 [Date published 15 May 2018]

Ferguson, D.C. 1969. A revision of the moths of the subfamily Geometrinae of America north of Mexico. Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 29: 1-251

Ferguson, D.C. 1985. Geometroidea (Geometridae). In, Dominick, R.B. et al. (eds). The Moths of America North of Mexico. Washington : Wedge Entomological Research Foundation Vol. 18.

Goldfinch, G.M. 1929. Revision of Australian Geometridae (Lepidoptera). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 54: 378-407, pls 14-16

Hausmann, A. (ed.) 2003. The Forum Herbulot world list of family group names in Geometridae , 11 pp., with pdf of update version of 12.6.2007.

Inoue, H. 1961. Lepidoptera: Geometridae. Insecta Japonica 1 4

McQuillan, P.B. & Edwards, E.D. 1996. Geometridae. pp. 200-228 in Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. (eds). Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Vol. 4 xiv 529 pp. & CD-ROM.

Meyrick, E. 1888. Revision of Australian Lepidoptera. II. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 2-n.s. 2(4): 835-928 [year of publication not confirmed]

Murillo-Ramos L, Brehm G, Sihvonen P, Hausmann A, Holm S, Reza Ghanavi H, Õunap E, Truuverk A, Staude H, Friedrich E, Tammaru T, Wahlberg N. 2019. A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of Geometridae (Lepidoptera) with a focus on enigmatic small subfamilies. PeerJ [Date published 27 August 2019]

Pitkin, L.M., Han, H & James, S. 2007. Moths of the tribe Pseudoterpnini (Geometridae: Geometrinae): a review of the genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 150(2): 343–412

Prout, L.B. 1912. Geometridae. Subfam. Hemitheinae. Genera Insectorum 129: 1-274, pls 1-4

Prout, L.B. 1913. Geometridae: Subfam. Hemitheinae. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 14: 1-192

Prout, L.B. 1922. New and little-known Geometridae. Novitates Zoologicae 29: 327-363

Prout, L.B. 1932. The lepidopterous genus Nobilia (Geometridae subfam. Sterrhinae). Novitates Zoologicae 38: 1-6

Prout, L.B. 1934. Geometridae: Subfamilia Sterrhinae 1. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 61: 1-176

Prout, L.B. 1934. Geometridae: Subfamilia Sterrhinae 2. Lepidopterorum Catalogus 63: 177-432

Turner, A.J. 1910. Revision of Australian Lepidoptera. V. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 35: 555-653 [16 Dec. 1910]

Viidalepp J. 1981. On the suprageneric systematics of subfamily Geometrinae (Lepidoptera, Geometridae). Trudy Vsesoyuznoga Entomologicheskogo Obshchestva 63: 90-95 [in Russian]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
21-Feb-2022 GEOMETROIDEA 04-Dec-2021 MODIFIED Dr Cathy Byrne (TMAG) Di Moyle (TMAG)
21-Feb-2022 28-Jun-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)