describing new spp in tabular form

Buz Wilson buz at MAIL.USYD.EDU.AU
Sat Jan 3 18:14:06 CST 1998


At 03:15 PM 1/2/98 GMT, Donald Quicke wrote:
>I was wandering, given that I have a large number of (insect) species to
>describe from the tropics as part of a generic revision, whether it is
>possible to do so largely in the form of a table, i.e., rather like a data
>matrix. The alternative traditional way of long hand sentences (even when
>written in a staccato style) will run to many, many pages.

Dr Quicke's query is thought provoking, and important in these days of
expanding costs of publication, not to mention the time spent carefully
checking one's descriptions.  I recently submitted my first description of
a freshwater crustacean that was generated by a DELTA database, and was a
bit disturbed by its length (we have 530+ characters). Because it was the
description of a new genus, I let it go and (so far...) the editor has not
complained about the verbosity.  For a larger monographic work, the length
of each description will have to be reduced considerably.  The tabular
approach
is one way, although I expect tables will cause numerous headaches,
especially
with the formatting.  A simpler approach (for DELTA users anyway) might be
publishing the DELTA scorings in an appendix preceded by the key to the
scorings
(the character list).    New species names in the main text would be
accompanied by *short, useful* diagnoses and appropriate illustrations.
This is not a new idea, I suspect.

Any howls of horror at this suggestion, or Dr Quicke's, out there?

Happy 1998 Taxacom-ers!

Buz Wilson
Australian Museum




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