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Nepticulidae, often named pygmy leafmining moths or just pygmies, contain some of the smallest moths, and even the largest have a wingspan of less than 1 cm. Larvae are usually leafminers on trees or shrubs, with an interesting life history and tight connection to the hostplant. Opostegidae or white eyecap moths are closely related, often a little bit larger, and frequently white with or without darker bands and patches. Larvae rarely make leafmines, they probably feed more often in the cambium layer of tree bark, but this is only known for very few species.
This website aims to be the place for authoritative information on the Taxonomy and Biology of these primitive leaf- and stem-mining moths. From October 31st, 2016 the site contains the newest classification, based on the Molecular Phylogeny (Doorenweerd et al., 2016) and Catalogue (van Nieukerken et al. 2016). This classification contains all described species and synonyms. Currently we recognise 884 extant and 18 fossil species of Nepticulidae and 192 valid Opostegidae species. The site is being built with taxon descriptions and images of existing and published species descriptions. Country maps are available for most species, specimen data and dot maps will appear later. The bibliography is complete for the taxonomic and nomenclatorial literature, with 794 references in October 2016.
For a citing example please see the tab "About the site".

Our web address has changed to: http://PhasmidStudyGroup.org (click to go there)

The Neotropical Biodiversity Mapping Initiative (NeoMaps) proposes a model for establishing biodiversity monitoring programs in Neotropical countries.
 
Currently NeoMaps is being tested for the monitoring of birds, butterflies and dung beetles in Venezuela. We focus in the analysis of distribution (occupancy), abundance and composition at local, regional and national scales.
NeoMaps guidelines are to:

  • Generate comparable data,
  • minimize sampling effort to cover large geographical scales in a short period of time,
  • build and strenghten regional capacity
  • guarantee factibility, repeatability and scientific rigour in all methods
  • repeat samples regularly to be able to detect trends

Between 2001 and 2005 we developed protocols for sampling and observing butterflies, dung beetles and birds. Between 2006 and 2010 we completed the first national surveys for this groups. With 2000 sampling points in more than 40 regions, and over 1000 species detected, NeoMaps can be considered the largest simultaneous and systematic survey for any Neotropical country, and we hope to provided base line data for future distribution and abundance analysis of indicator taxa in Venezuela.
 

This three-year NERC funded project will give new insight into the evolution and development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth (‘dentition’) in jawed vertebrates (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/press/releases/2013/73-teeth.as).
The jawed vertebrates evolved into different types of animals, of which there are two major groups still living today. One is the cartilaginous fishes, or Chondrichthyes, while the other is Osteichthyes, or bony fish. One group of bony fish eventually evolved into mammals, like humans and mice (which are often used as laboratory models for human dentition). A functional dentition is the key to the evolutionary success of the jawed vertebrates, and to understand how teeth and dentitions evolved, we will investigate development of dentitions in living and fossil cartilaginous fishes, and compare our findings to basal osteichthyans such as the paddlefish and bichir.
Our  team hope to discover whether these chondrichthyans and osteichthyans share a common dentition pattern despite having very different dentitions in the adult. We will use CT scanning techniques to generate 3D images of embryos and adult specimens of modern-day sharks and rays as well as the paddlefish and birchir. We will use 3D rendering software for visualisation, animation and analysis of these specimens (http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/multimedia/story.aspx?id=1521&cookieConsent=A). We are using micro CT scans taken at the Dental Institute KCL with a GE Locus SP, creating volumes with voxel sizes 6.5um, rendered using the software program Drishti (http://sf.anu.edu.au/Vizlab/drishti) and Avizo (http://www.vsg3d.com/avizo/overview).
Another research group involved in this project is based at the University of Sheffield, and will look at the genetics behind different types of tooth development and dentition. This will help us understand how dentitions are patterned as well as the genes are involved in the regeneration of shark teeth. This will give insight into comparable genes in humans, and why humans and mammals only develop one or two sets of teeth in their lifetime, compared to their animals such as sharks, which constantly regenerate their teeth.