[Taxacom] Ethiopian versus Afrotropical

Thompson, Chris Chris.Thompson at ars.usda.gov
Wed Aug 13 11:47:56 CDT 2008


The term Afrotropical was coined by the dipterists at the then British
Museum (Natural History) when they started on their catalogue of the
Diptera of Afrotropical region.

Their (Crosskey & White) paper justifying this is in the Journal of
Natural History (1977) 11: 541-544.

They felt as the Diptera Community continues to feel that Afro-tropical
is a nice match to Neo-tropical and the older Ethiopian name has some
bad historical (racial) connotations, etc.

Now some dipterists are suggesting that we go further and change the
Australian region into Austro-tropical region. 


F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution MRC-0169
PO Box 37012
Washington, D. C. 20013-7012
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 fax
www.diptera.org Diptera Website

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of John D. Oswald
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:36 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Ethiopian versus Afrotropical

Can anyone provide commentary on the appropriateness, preference, and/or

subtleties involved in using the term Ethiopian, versus Afrotropical, in

referring to the biogeographic faunal region that generally encompasses 
sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the southern/southeastern Arabian 
peninsula? Is usage here largely determined by the historical usage 
found in the literature of different taxa? Does this usage vary 
appreciably based on where one works (e.g., do biologists in Africa tend

to use one term, while biologists in other areas of the world tend to 
use the other)? Which is the 'better' term, and why? Are there 
substantive reasons for using one term over the other? Are the terms 
considered synonymous in general usage, or are there important 
subtleties of meaning implicit in each? Is there a concise discussion of

these issues in the literature somewhere (citations please...)?

John Oswald

John D. Oswald
Associate Professor
Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-2475

E-mail: j-oswald at tamu.edu
Phone: (979) 862-3507
More at: http://insects.tamu.edu/people/faculty/oswaldj.cfm

Lacewing Digital Library: http://lacewing.tamu.edu/
Neuropterida Species of the World:
Bibliography of the Neuropterida:

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