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J. R. STONIS: A CALL FOR URGENT ACTION IN BIODIVERSITY STUDIES IN COLOMBIA

A recently published conference paper tells about a rather embarrassing situation in the nepticuloid investigations in a country of extraordinary biodiversity (see an open access paper: Stonis J. R., Remeikis A., Gerulaitis V., Forero D. 2015. An embarrassing situation requiring urgent action: Colombia, a country of extraordinary biodiversity, still counts only few species of Nepticuloidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera). Biologija, 61 (3–4): 123–129).

http://www.journals4free.com/link.jsp?l=4950866

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287971690

Colombia is regarded as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, hosting close to 10% of the planet’s biodiversity. Worldwide, it ranks first in bird and orchid species diversity and second in plants, butterflies and freshwater fish (Colombia – Country Profile, 2015). Colombia also has an extraordinary diversity of amphibians and mammals (Colombia, 2015). With 314 types of ecosystems, Colombia possesses a rich complexity of ecological, climatic, biological and ecosystem components. The country has several areas of high biological diversity in the Andean ecosystems, characterized by a significant variety of endemic species, followed by the Amazon rainforests and the humid ecosystems in the Chocó biogeographical area (Colombia – Country Profile, 2015). Meanwhile, the current list of the Colombian Nepticuloidea (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae and Opostegidae) comprises only about 0.5% of the world’s fauna: 0.6% of Nepticulidae and 0.5% of the world’s Opostegidae (or 1.15% of the Neotropical Opostegidae). The situation with Colombia’s Tischeriidae (Tischerioidea), a related family (superfamily) to Nepticuloidea, is even worse. Though 115 species are globally known at present (and 70 more newly discovered species from regions of America and South East Asia have been prepared to be described), not a single species of these insects from Colombia has been registered yet.

The current situation is rather embarrassing and requires urgent action: extensive taxonomic studies of Nepticulidae and Opostegidae (also Tischeriidae) in different ecosystems and habitats of this amazing country.

Map: Distribution of Nepticuloidea currently known from Colombia (1 – Stigmella johannis; 2 – Stigmella sp.; 3 – S. robleae; 4 – S. humboldti; 5 – Fomoria molybditis; 6 – Pseudopostega pontifex).