designating a photo as holotype?

Doug Yanega dyanega at MONO.ICB.UFMG.BR
Sat Nov 8 00:11:23 CST 1997

>I'm not an insect taxonomist and I'm curious as to why Doug Yanega needs
>to erect this genus, given the circumstances of one inadequate specimen.
>Doug, convince me - what is particularly important about this one? Why not
>hold off until other species referable to it are available from (is it)
>the second largest island in the Philippines ?

The bottom line? Because virtually the entire family (Ctenostylidae) is
known from only species and genera represented by one or a VERY few
specimens. I literally do not expect to find another one of these things,
as I've been in person to many major museums, and asked around extensively
to personal contacts, to the list here, and to Entomo-l, and virtually no
one has anything in the *family* to offer, let alone this undescribed
genus. Moreover, no one even knows what SUPERFAMILY these flies belong in,
so every bit of evidence that might help clarify things is important.
Another new genus was described in 1995 from one specimen, as were other
genera in the family years ago. We'd know nothing about these flies if
people waited until they had a series of specimens. There is evidently only
one species in the family known from more than a dozen specimens, and
that's one that occurs *here* in SE Brazil, Furciseta plaumanni (Hennig,
1952) (I have another species in that genus, known from two specimens, and
I'd intended to include it and the new genus in what would constitute a
major paper for Ctenostylidae, establishing two new species) - the
remaining species are generally known from one to three specimens or so. I
have no reason to expect that waiting for extra material will be fruitful,
in other words, given that some 200 years of worldwide insect collecting
have evidently yielded maybe about 40 specimens total (aside from F.
plaumanni), divided up among a number of species and genera. Not easy to
collect flies that live maybe a few days as adults (almost none of the
species have functional mouthparts; they larviposit, though no one has the
slightest idea what on; some are evidently parthenogenetic, too). It's a
diverse family, and the new genus has some features not seen in other
described genera, but clear links to some, so is important to characterize
the family-level diversity and help us form a better idea of relationships,
biogeography (this is only the second Pacific species, the other is from
Indonesia; even the Bishop Museum's extensive collection has nothing in
this family from that region) and evolution within the family...maybe to
help place it some day where it belongs within the Diptera. All in all, it
seemed pretty foolish to me to just ignore it and hope for more before
doing anything about it. Convinced yet?? ;-)


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-449-2579, fax: 031-441-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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