Biological attributes affect the data of description of tiger moths (Arctiidae) in the Brazilian Cerrado


  • Viviane Gianluppi Ferro,

    Corresponding author
    1. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Caixa Postal 04457, 70919-970 Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil,
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  • Ivone Rezende Diniz

    1. Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, 70910-900 Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil
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Correspondence: Viviane G. Ferro, Departamento de Zoologia, Laboratório de Ecologia de Insetos, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Avenida Bento Gonçalves 9500, Bloco IV, Prédio 43435, sala 227, 91540-000, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. E-mail:


Previous studies have shown that macroecological variables such as body size and geographical range size may influence the probability of a species being described. We evaluated the description pattern of tiger moth species from the Brazilian Cerrado, and tested whether the date of description was influenced by the species biological attributes (body size, colour pattern, geographical range size, altitudinal range, latitudinal range, longitudinal range, degree of specificity to the Cerrado, and number of species of the same genus). The relationship between date of description for several arctiid taxa and predictor variables was investigated using simple and multiple regressions. All predictor variables explained significant variance in the year of description in some arctiid taxonomic groups. However, the relative importance of each predictor varied among taxa. Our analyses suggested that the tiger moths yet to be discovered in the Cerrado region will probably be small, with a restricted distribution, and endemic to the biome. We also showed, for the first time, that colour pattern is a significant variable in determining the description date of an animal group, with aposematic species being described first. We noted a significant decrease in numbers of tiger moth taxonomists in recent decades. The training of new tiger moth taxonomists is urgent because there is a significant relationship between the number of taxonomists and the number of described species.