confidence and checklists

Hendrik Segers Hendrik.Segers at RUG.AC.BE
Sun Jun 11 14:12:38 CDT 1995

Recently, I've been doing more or less the same thing as what Barbara
Ertter wrote about: compiling a checklist from multiple sources. I hope
some of you are interrested in reading what I experienced while doing
this. The genus I work with (Lecane: Rotifera) is large (now at 167
morphospecies), with the usual consequences that brings along. However,
the group is such, that it is possible to tell if a record is
correct, if there is an original drawing published along with it.
Apparently, even reputed taxonomists misidentify common, 'easily'
recognisable morphospecies. Misidentified records are not at
all rare. If one accepts that people likely pay more attention when
they publish an illustrated record, then it is clear that one can not
have any confidence at all in non-illustrated records: I had the
opportunity to check (1) a subsample of material, reported upon by a reputed
taxonomist, and (2) drawings in the notebook of an author, who published
quite a few non-illustrated records. In the first case, there was a surprising
discrepance between the published list and my results (including a new
morphospecies). In the second, a large proportion of the illustrated
specimens were misidentified (Indeed, I can be wrong as well).

Hendrik Segers.

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