The Global Butterfly Information System

The aim of the GloBIS project is to provide access to scientific information about butterflies on the basis of a global taxonomic catalogue. The information offered through this portal is mainly intended to support taxonomic and other research on butterflies, but it should also be useful for anybody interested in butterflies or in need of basic data about their diversity and distribution.

In a first step, a complete global species register for two families of butterflies, Swallowtails (Papilionidae) and Whites (Pieridae), has been developed based on comprehensive taxonomic databases for these two groups, which is made available via the GloBIS portal. As a further goal, available information about butterfly type specimens is being collected, and type specimens housed in the institutional and private collections of GloBIS partners have been recorded, photographed, and databased. Based on this taxonomic backbone, a comprehensive species information system will be developed offering data about distribution, ecology, and morphology of individual species, as well as links to other existing data sources.

The GloBIS project was first conceived in 1999 and initiated by the late Ebbe S. Nielsen (†), Christoph L. Häuser, Rienk de Jong, Gerardo Lamas, Robert K. Robbins, and Richard I. Vane-Wright, and promoted as a joint initiative between the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC), CSIRO, Canberra, the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Stuttgart (SMNS), the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum (now: Naturalis Biodiversity Center), Leiden, the Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (NMNH), and the Natural History Museum, London (NHM).

A first complement of the GloBIS vision was implemented via the GART (Globales Artenregister Tagfalter) project, undertaken by a consortium of eight German natural history museums as well as international partners and coordinated by SMNS, and supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF; grant ref.: 01LI0204). In 2009, the coordination for the GART/GloBIS project moved to the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN), Berlin (formerly: Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt Universität, Berlin), where the GloBIS databases are now updated and to be maintained. The GloBIS species checklists for Papilionidae and Pieridae are also contributed to the Catalogue of Life (CoL: http://www.catalogueoflife.org/), and constitute a component of their global species database backbone.

The GloBIS team:
Christoph L. Häuser, Alexander Kroupa, Falko Glöckler (MfN, Berlin);
Joachim Holstein, Axel Steiner (GART team: SMNS, Stuttgart).


For financial assistance and provision of resources we gratefully acknowledge support provided by:

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN)

Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (SMNS)

Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg(MWK)

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung(BMBF)

European Network of Biodiversity Information (ENBI, Workpackage 6)

EuroCat / Species2000 europa

German Network for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF-D)

For expert advice and helpful information, especially on taxonomic issues, we are greatly indebted to: Adam Cotton, Rienk de Jong, Don Harvey, Gerardo Lamas, Paul A. Opler, Tommaso Racheli, Robert K. Robbins, Campbell Smith, Felix Sperling, and Richard Vane-Wright.

For assistance with data entry and editing, technical support, and the provision of images we want to thank: Stanislav Abadijev, Daniel Bartsch, Anja Cieslak (nee Zahm), Ralf Deichsel, Wolfgang Eckweiler, Christoph Esch, Josef Grieshuber, Marion Gschweng, Jan Haugum, Norbert Hirneisen, Elke Klass, Guy Kuate, Vladimir Lukhtanov, Yuri Nekrutenko (†), Sandra Mustafa, Birgit Oettinger, Julia Rein, Anja Schindler, Julia Schmalfuß, Olga & Stefan Schmidt, Christian Schulze, Annette Stumpf, and Robert Trusch.