Types of butterflies in S. American rainforest

DR. JAMES ADAMS jadams at Carpet.dalton.peachnet.edu
Fri Feb 26 13:50:13 EST 1999

To whom it may concern:

Mark Walker wrote:
> The total number of known Lepidoptera species is on the order of 20,000.
> Probably 80% of these live in tropical habitats, of which the South and
> Latin American rainforest represents a substantial percentage 
> (maybe 20%?).

This is not meant to criticize Mark, as I'll be Mark already knows he 
made a typo.  The total known *butterfly* species is somewhere around 
20,000 (probably higher than that now, since the estimate of 20,000 is 
over a decade old).  There are significantly more Lepidoptera, most 
of which can be called moths.  Indeed, Lepidoptera, depending on who 
you talk to, is the second or third most speciose order, numbering 
over (probably well over) 200,000 species, and one family of moths 
(the noctuids) has around 25,000 species in and of itself worldwide, 
with three other families (the pyralids, geometrids and arctiids) not 
far behind.  Only the Coleoptera definitely numbers more species than 
the leps, and hymenops are clearly about as speciose as the leps.  
This information is for anyone who needs it -- I realize its pretty 
basic for a number of you on this list!!


Dr. James K. Adams
Dept. of Natural Science and Math
Dalton State College
213 N. College Drive
Dalton, GA  30720
Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533
U of Michigan's President James Angell's 
  Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"

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