Morpho-typing & Re: ATBI "Self-Destructs"

richard a fagerlund fagerlun at UNM.EDU
Wed May 21 06:59:03 CDT 1997

Doug brings up another point.  While in some cases there is money for
some taxonomy, there isn't enough money for all the taxonomy that is
needed in some ecological studies.

I spend a great deal of time going through pitfall samples for three or
four different projects at the same time, pulling out specimens and
counting and identifying them.  I am paid for this.  In most studies,
however, only certain groups are inventoried because of financial reasons.
Usually we inventory the beetles, hymenops (except bees), spiders, heterops,
etc. but do not separate or count the diptera, collembola, psocids, mites
and other obscure groups.  These latter groups are simply pooled and
stored, most likely never to be seen again.  How many undescribed species
are in this pooled material?  Recently I pulled a couple of mites out for
no particular reason and sent them to an acarologist. Voila! Two undescribed
species out of two samples.

Although the material we get paid to examine gets properly identified,
much of the material doesn't even receive a cursory examination.  If
funding was available, we could at least separate the material we don't
inventory and save or send to a specialist who would like to see it.

Oh well, its not a perfect world.

Richard Fagerlund                    Mail: 993 Orchid SW
University of New Mexico                   Rio Rancho, NM 87124
E-mail: fagerlun at            Phone: (505) 896-2524

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