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Pierre ARNAL
Email: pierre.arnal(at)
Topic: Phylogenomic approach of spatial and temporal insect diversification dynamics: analysing global patterns of diversity in Saturniidae and Sphingidae Lepidoptera
Dates: January 1st, 2017 –
Thesis supervisor: M. Elias & R. Rougerie (MNHN), A. Cruaud & J.Y. Rasplus (CBGP)
University: MNHN

The diversity patterns and understanding evolutionary and ecological mechanisms are two fundamental study objects in biology and form a major base to develop strategies and species preservation measures.

Our knowledge mainly derives from studies on vertebrates and plants; no large scale study was led on invertebrates yet, which are the most diversified pluricellular bodies and represents an extremely important functional group. This gap is widely caused by a taxonomic and biogeographical deficit, particularly in the intertropical zone where most species live.

In this context, this thesis aims at analyzing in time and space the diversification of representatives of two families of Lepidoptera (approximately 5.000 species) whose global spatial patterns of diversity are well documented in insects.

The results will allow testing various hypotheses of speciation, colonization and extinction at the origin of current diversity and its distribution. We will study particularly:

  • the role of considerable geological and climatic environment change;
  • the impact of these butterflies on the diversification of biological characteristics of species and lineage.