overly-inflated Family Staphylinidae

Derek Sikes dsikes at UCALGARY.CA
Wed Feb 9 21:08:42 CST 2005

Dear Ken,

Thanks for the nice comments!

Keeping the Pselaphinae as a separate family would obscure its
relationship to other similar lineages - people would not realize it
was a staphylinid lineage (and doing so would "not reduce the risk" of
the staphylinids being paraphyletic - it would *make* the staphylinids
definitely paraphyletic). If the silphids can be confidently
demonstrated to be staphylinids, which seems more and more likely as
more work is done, they too should be classified as such (and were by
Hatch 1927).   Perhaps someday, once the staphylinoid tree is better
known someone might elevate large staph subclades to family level.

"In regard to classification and all the endless disputes
about the "Natural System," which no two authors define
in the same way, I believe it ought, in accordance to my
  heterodox notions, to be simply genealogical."
Darwin in letter to Huxley, 1857


On 9-Feb-05, at 4:28 PM, Ken Kinman wrote:

> Hi Derek,
>      Nice addition to the Tree of Life!!  But I am wondering if you
> like the huge overly-inflated Family Staphylinidae has become in
> recent years?  It seems to me that keeping a separate Family
> Pselaphidae (which the Tree of Life labels the "Omaliinae group")
> would be preferable.  Not only because Staphylinidae has become so
> large, but also it would reduce the risk of Staphylinidae being
> paraphyletic with respect to other families (such as Silphidae).  If
> such paraphyly were to be demonstrated, would there be a tendency to
> split the Pselaphidae back off, or to dump Silphidae or other families
> into an even larger Staphylinidae?
>    ---Thanks,
>             Ken Kinman
Derek S. Sikes, Assistant Professor
Division of Zoology
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4

dsikes at ucalgary.ca

phone: 403-210-9819
FAX:  403-289-9311

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