[Taxacom] very nice opinion article in today's Zootaxa

James Whitfield jwhitfie at life.illinois.edu
Thu Sep 15 14:50:26 CDT 2011

So the seven years gives license for some non-involved person to jump in
and facetiously described things?  Give me a frigging break!!!

Not to mention that the people working with Janzen have described species
at a rate far exceeding that of Brower. Maybe not the thousdand that have
been turned up, but hundreds so far.

Get real.


> On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 James Whitfield wrote:
>> The point is here that with Brower's paper BOTH classical taxonomic
>> opinion and DNA barcodes were ignored.  The barcodes (limited as
>> they may be) actually only backed up what a taxonomist who paid a
>> lot of attention to life history and natural history had already
>> recognized - that there were likely to be species taxa WITHIN
>> Astraptes fulgerator. If it is 10 or not, we cannot perhaps be
>> sure yet, but it is surely not 1. BOTH morphology and genetics
>> indicate that. Can we not leave the issue to Burns, an experienced
>> hesperiid taxonomist, and not to Brower, who has not seriously
>> studied these taxa?
> Burns has had seven years since the first Astraptes paper was
> published, and according to that, these taxa were recognized by
> subtle morphological characters and larval host preferences long
> before.  The 2004 paper even declares: "Should the 10 species of A.
> fulgerator identified in this study be formally described despite
> their morphological similarity? Yes."  So if they haven't done so
> after this time, when the paper has become cited so often, they've
> somewhat abdicated responsibility.  Given that Janzen's group has
> continued to publish high-profile papers like this in PNAS touting
> the diversity of various groups without actually describing the
> species - especially when many of their supposed species fall well
> within the usual range of intraspecific variation - I think it's
> entirely appropriate to give a message like this to either put up or
> shut up.
> Also, I don't see the names as being insulting, except possibly for
> "favilla" being feminine (not knowing Latin, I don't know if
> "favillus" is a valid word).  Overall I didn't see the article as
> being vituperative at all, which was somewhat surprising given
> Brower's usual style.
> Karl
> =====================
> Karl Magnacca
> Postdoctoral Researcher
> University of Hawaii-Hilo

James B. Whitfield
Department of Entomology
320 Morrill Hall
505 S. Goodwin Avenue
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801

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