NOT-inflated Family Staphylinidae

Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU
Sat Feb 12 13:38:02 CST 2005

Dear All,

We have lately had several assertions to the effect that a cladistic classification is the "most predictive". May I ask just what it predicts, apart from the likely monophyly of its taxa?

My problem, perhaps, is that I've worked for much of my life in applied entomology, where folk (non-taxonomists) are interested in predicting, for instance, that any member of the genus Anopheles is a potential vector of malaria; or that any member of the genus Anagonia is almost certainly a parasite of leaf-eating beetle larvae. Even if told that these genera were paraphyletic (and I think the second might be), and even if they knew the meaning of "paraphyletic", I very much doubt that they would care! 

Don Colless,
Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
GPO Box 1700,
Canberra. 2601.
Email: don.colless at
Tuz li munz est miens envirun

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