MacClade and DELTA

Sikes dss95002 at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU
Wed Feb 4 10:05:39 CST 1998

Dear Taxacomers,

This may be useful information for those of you who are starting to use
computers to manage taxonomic (character) data but are not using DELTA (-

I've found MacClade to be very useful for coding characters for diagnoses
and descriptions (in addition, of course, to characters of phylogenetic
value that are inappropriate for diagnoses...), however, although
MacClade has the ability to "export descriptions" this output is quite
"rough" and requires extensive, manual,  reprocessing.

The DELTA package was designed to address many needs of the taxonomist,
but its ability to create  publication-ready descriptions from coded data
is exceptionally powerful (and all the more so as one's species list
grows beyond ten or so).

Mike Dallwitz  has written a small executable to translate a NEXUS file
(the file format of MacClade and PAUP et al.) into a DELTA ITEMS file
(the list of species with their coded character states).

Using this program, nex2del ,  I successfully converted my NEXUS
-MacClade dataset (which needed only minor search& replace editing) and
ran DELTA's TONAT (which writes descriptions based on your datasets) with
very few problems (all of my own making..).

 I must say that it's quite remarkable that using DELTA, in about 2 hours
of work, I produced descriptions for 76 species... (after 2 years of
recording specimen data!)

Derek Sikes

Derek Sikes
Dept. of Ecology and Evol. Biology U-43
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269  USA

dss95002 at

"Every organism, with a few exceptions, is an arthropod."

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