Phasmid Study Group

Stick insect & Leaf insect enthusiasts!

Phasmida DNA Barcoding

Welcome to information on the Phasmida Barcode of Life campaign. Launched in 2009, this DNA barcoding campaign aims to build a comprehensive COI barcode reference library for all stick and leaf insect (Insecta: Phasmida [= Phasmatodea]) species in the world (ca. 3,000 species). Fulfilling such an ambitious goal is not an easy task; although c. 250 species are kept in culture, many lack adequate collecting data. This project is expected to be a long-term research program, with many challenges, not least with parthenogenetic species, which may also be hybrid in origin and therefore carry the maternal mitochondrial genome. Further molecular markers from the nuclear genome (such as the ITS rDNA region) will be taken into account to validate the diagnosis. Barcoding is a useful systematic tool especially in connection with classical taxonomic methods and we anticipate exciting discoveries during the progress of the campaign, starting with the Australian fauna. Instead of trying to explore multiple gene markers across a variety of taxa, the Phasmida Barcode of Life campaign focuses on a standardized mitochondrial COI gene fragment for this group of organisms. Through this approach, species diagnosis for any phasmid in the world using DNA sequences will soon become a reality. Meanwhile, we incorporate the most up-to-date resource Phasmida Species File as the master checklist to ensure that the recent taxonomy is employed by the campaign.

Support from Phasmida workers is critical to this barcoding effort and we are pleased to report considerable early interest. To ease the communications between all participating members, we shortly envisage a standalone website and hope to provide these services:

  • Provide instructions and protocols for DNA barcoding of phasmids
  • Create a real-time report on Phasmida barcoding projects
  • Generate lists of most-needed species
  • Host links to Phasmida-related websites and contact information of campaign participants
  • Report discoveries of DNA barcoding studies such as the association of life stages, and the need for synonymization
  • Serve as a communication platform that is accessible to all Phasmida workers, including systematists, phylogeneticists, population geneticists, ecologists, bio-monitoring workers, and amateur naturalists
  • Report news relevant to Phasmida and DNA barcoding studies
  • Provide SEM photos of eggs, very useful in phasmid taxonomy

In the meantime, researchers interested in joining the Phasmida DNA barcoding project are invited to contact us:

Knowledge Base: 
Wed, 2009-11-11 10:43 -- pbrock
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith