ghost moth biogeography

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Mon Jul 21 10:45:35 CDT 2003

For those interested in biogeographic patterns I and a colleague recently
published a paper that includes graphic representations and discussion of
the global biogeography of ghost moths (Hepialidae). The paper (the great
bulk of which consists of obscure nomenclatural issues of larval
chaetotaxy,) points out how the main massings and predicted phylogenetic
relationships of various taxa are congruent with a Pacific baseline, and
incongruent with an Indian Ocean or Atlantic baseline (the configurations
one might expect for a typical 'Gondwanic' origin). I refer here to
'predicted' relationships as there is still much to be done in ghost moth
systematics to develop a comprehensive character analysis although I would
be surprised to find it will change the current biogeographic patterns in
any substantial way (sticking my neck out on that one).

The paper also points up the importance of knowing comparative
biogeographic patterns. Earlier authors characterized the apparent absence
of Exoporia (broader grouping of ghost moths and related families) from
West Africa and Madagascar as "extraordinary and inexplicable". This paper
points out that this pattern is hardly extraordinary in any way, and as for
being inexplicable - far from it.

The reference is:

Grehan, J.R. and Rawlins, J.E. 2003. Larval description of a New World
ghost moth, Phassus sp., and the evolutionary biogeography of wood-boring
Hepialidae (Lepidoptera: Exoporia: Hepialoidea). Proceedings of the
Entomological Society of Washington 105: 733-755.

John Grehan

Dr. John Grehan
Director of Science and Collections
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, New York 14211-1293
Voice 716-896-5200 x372
Fax 716-897-6723
jgrehan at

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