Sibyl R. Bucheli, Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Sam Houston State University
Department of Biological Sciences

Research Interests:

Moths and butterflies are exceptional within insects in that much of their evolutionary significance relies on the biology of the immature stages. Larval moths and butterflies have a major impact on plants, constituting probably the largest lineage of phytophagous insects, and serve as important sources of food for parasitic insects, predatory arthropods, birds, lizards and small mammals. As a researcher of entomology, one of my main goals is to understand the biology of the basal or "micro" lineages of Lepidoptera. Microlepidoptera are generally small, short-lived and inconspicuous animals, historically overlooked by entomologists. However, these basal lineages represent a major portion of the lepidopteran diversity; at least 50% of the known diversity is derived from the basal microlepidopteran lineages.

My research focuses on the systematics of the superfamily Gelechioidea. This cosmopolitan superfamily remains poorly known; it is estimated that among gelechioid moths in the Nearctic region, only 30% have been described, with the majority of the work left to be done in North America, primarily in arid regions. If estimates are correct, Gelechioidea will rank as one of the largest and least well-understood superfamilies of Lepidoptera. I am working towards a global understanding of this large and poorly known group. My work includes descriptive and revisional taxonomic study, the use of behavioral and ecological data, and modern morphological and molecular systematics. It also concentrates on the evolution of host-plant choice. I am also interested in the spatial and temporal distributions of Gelechioidea and other microlepidoptera.


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