Austrlian Alpha Taxonomy

Murray Fletcher murray.fletcher at AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU
Fri Jul 4 10:01:03 CDT 2003


I am sure you didn't intend that to go to the entire list but I'm glad I
have an opportunity to reply. The Australian Journal of Entomology does
not refuse to publish descriptions of new species - after all, they
publish mine. Some Australian journals, such as Invertebrate Systematics,
refuse to publish descriptions of new species unless a review of the
relationships is included. This is fair enough and ensures that the new
species are not just names and descriptions but that they are placed into
some kind of phylogenetic context.

I also disagree with your view of Ebbe thinking that just sorting out
specimens in the ANIC was sufficient - even if they had species numbers
associated with them. There are situations in which undescribed
morphospecies are adequate. Comparison of biodiversity between sites is
impossible if it were necessary to have all the species identified when
80% might not be described at all. In these cases, sorting into
morphospecies provides numbers which can be analysed for the purposes of
comparing sites. This is clearly not ideal because later work on those
same sites then have no basis on which to compare with earlier work.

Ebbe was more of a pragmatist accepting that, for the Australian fauna, it
is less likely that names would be available in many groups and sorting
into morphospecies was the only possible option, albeit stopgap.


Dr Murray J. Fletcher
Director of the Collections
NSW Agricultural Scientific Collections Unit
Forest Road, Orange NSW 2800

Telephone: +61-2-63913943
Fax: +61-2-63913899
Email: murray.fletcher at
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