number of records:  1527471
number of sequences:  1137893
number of species:  85310
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These campaigns aim to assemble comprehensive DNA barcode libraries for the world fauna of selected families of Lepidoptera. They are based on the use of checklists to monitor progress, organize sampling and ensure the use of uniform nomenclature. Developed in collaboration with expert taxonomists, these campaigns integrate detailed taxonomic information and use thoroughly curated collections. New campaigns will be developed for other families based on the willingness of lead taxonomists to coordinate efforts and on the availability of a comprehensive checklist.

With nearly 23,000 described species, geometrids – or Looper moths – are one of the two most diverse families of Lepidoptera. Such a phenomenal diversity presents a challenge to species identification, and this global DNA barcoding campaign aims to build a reference library combining DNA barcodes and taxonomic information.

The global campaign for Saturniidae – or Wild Silkmoths – seeks to assemble a comprehensive library of DNA barcodes for the 1800 species in the family. The biodiversity of these moths is studied by a very active community of taxonomists. Along with crystallizing taxonomic expertise and permitting species identification, DNA barcoding will help in the description of world saturniids’ diversity.

Sphingidae – or Hawkmoths – are very well-known insects. With about 1400 described species, and a recent thorough taxonomic revision, sphingids represent an ideal group to test the efficiency of DNA barcodes at distinguishing species. This campaign targets all world species and aims to permit straightforward identifications while fostering recognition and description of unknown species.

In contrast with the taxonomic campaigns that target species of a Lepidopteran family worldwide, the continental campaigns focus on all Lepidoptera within a large geographic area. Two continental campaigns have been initiated – Lepidoptera of Australia and Lepidoptera of North America. Launch of other continental campaigns will depend on availability of species checklists.

This campaign targets Lepidopteran fauna of Australia which includes some 10500 species described to date, about half of the number of species that are believed to reside on this continent. While species found in Northern Queensland also occur in Papua New Guinea, the remainder of the fauna is largely endemic. Insights from the comprehensive study of genetic diversity will help to untangle biogeographic patterns in the region.

This DNA barcoding campaign is focused on Lepidopteran fauna of Canada and the United States and targets some 12500 known species of butterflies and moths and perhaps 2500 more that await description. This fauna provides an excellent situation to test the effectiveness of DNA barcodes in the discrimination of known and yet to be described species.