Species Enumeration (Biodiversity) or Phylogenetic Relationship (Science) ==> Another problem

John Noyes jsn at NHM.AC.UK
Thu Jul 19 18:39:33 CDT 2001

Yes, but it is not the desription, per se, that takes the time. It is the
deciding on what species are in the first place - that is 98% (or more) of
the battle. By shortening descriptions to diagnoses all you are doing
really is saving on publication costs.


>There actually may be more than one or two of us out there right now, but
>we also have to communicate with future generations.  I asked my colleague
>whether a compromise would be to return to the style of earlier generations
>of taxonomists; i.e. "Acarus thompsoni, n. sp. A white mite 0.56mm long,
>0.33 mm wide; like Acarus oconnori but slightly longer; found in my
>garden."  This diagnosis is enough to satisfy the code, and now instead of
>a voucher specimen for the sequence, you have a holotype.  Perhaps we're
>even approaching the day when the diagnostic characters will be the
>sequences themselves.  Anyone interested now knows that this entity exists
>and has to deal with it in revisions, databases, etc.  Terry Erwin has
>taken this approach (admittedly with more complete diagnoses & figures) in
>recent works on Neotropical beetles.
>So many mites, so little time!
>Barry M. OConnor
>Professor & Curator             phone: (734) 763-4354
>Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
>University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at umich.edu
>Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

Entomology Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South
Kensington, London, SW7 5BD, UK

Tel. +44 (0)207-942-5594  Fax: +44 (0)207-942-5229

INTERNET: jsn at NHM.ac.uk

Interactive catalogue and biological database of World Chalcidoidea:

or search for Noyes at:

Encyrtidae of Costa Rica:

Course on taxonomy and biology of parasitic Hymenoptera:

More information about the Taxacom mailing list