[Taxacom] Blind-snakes Australia - 2-3 times as many as thought....

Scott Thomson scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 12 09:43:19 CDT 2013


If I may add in here I wrote a paper on the topic of the genus once,
defining it.

To me I felt that a genus was a monophyletic group of species that shared a
character sweep that represented an innovation within the family in
question. By that I mean they shared multiple characters that were all
involved in a function of some type. For example in turtles the characters
that are all a part in being a strike and gape piscivore; ie long neck,
flat head, wide mouth etc. This of course is a morphological and a
functional approach to this question, which is what I was doing and is not
a particularly useful definition to geneticists. However it gave me the
advantage of having a line in the sand I could draw on the issue. It
requires a deep understanding of not only the characters of a species, but
what they are actually used for.

I think it was Stephen who said something about taxonomists should not just
split but be willing to lump, I totally agree with this. If you constantly
split you are going to end up with a whole bunch of OTU's grouped by what
are really monotypic genera, this is really a loss of information not a
gain. We gain information by being able to infer relationship from
phylogeny.

Cheers, Scott


On Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 4:23 AM, Raymond Hoser - The Snakeman <
viper007 at live.com.au> wrote:

> Stephen you wrote:
>
> "Your comments do bring up an interesting question at the heart of
> systematics, which has never been resolved to my satisfaction, namely: what
> is a genus?"
>
> And I agree wholeheartedly.
>
> Much of the bickering among taxonomists would be resolved (at this level
> at least) with a better definition to work with!
>
> Getting there won't be easy however as molecular biologists will probably
> want to ignore such things are morphology and vice versa for some of the
> more traditional taxonomists, who probably treat molecular phylogenies with
> a strong element of suspicion.
>
> I prefer to work using both and find that they do tend to work hand in
> hand, and also with primitive groups draw the line further back in time in
> terms of divergences.  Subjective to an extent I agree.
>
> All the best
>
>
>
>
> Snakebustersâ - Australia's best reptilesâ
>
> The only hands-on reptilesâ shows that lets people hold the animalsâ.
>
> Reptile partiesâ, events, courses
> Phones: 9812 3322
>
> 0412 777 211
>
>
> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 17:16:56 -0700
> From: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Blind-snakes Australia - 2-3 times as many as
> thought....
> To: viper007 at live.com.au; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>
> Hi Raymond,
> Your comments do bring up an interesting question at the heart of
> systematics, which has never been resolved to my satisfaction, namely: what
> is a genus? I would say that divergence times are irrelevant. My own view
> is that a genus is just a convenient monophyletic grouping of species, i.e.
> not too big, not too small, and easily recognisable. Others may disagree ...
> Cheers,
> Stephen
>
>
>
>
> From: Raymond Hoser - The Snakeman <viper007 at live.com.au>
> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; "rwrossco at gmail.com" <
> rwrossco at gmail.com>; "envirodata at hotmail.com" <envirodata at hotmail.com>; "
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Friday, 12 July 2013 12:01 PM
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Blind-snakes Australia - 2-3 times as many as
> thought....
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Thanks for the kind comments Stephen.
>
> Oversplitting of genera is a matter of opinion.
>
> There was a time when pretty much every snake on earth was placed in the
> genus “Coluber”, but thankfully those days have now passed.
>
> For the Blindsnakes, until 2012, pretty much all were placed in the genera
> Typhlops and Ramphotyphlops even though there were clades with divergences
> measuring over 60 million years and with the same genus name, which if they
> were mammals, would be placed in different families.
>
> I thought I was conservative for busting up just to the genus level and if
> you cared to read the paper in question, my splits were generally of clades
> divided at least 30 MYA which is perfectly reasonable for a genus-level
> split in vertebrates (in my humble opinion).
>
> But by all means, if you want to keep calling every blindsnake in
> Australia Ramphotyphlops, we will have to agree to disagree, but for what
> it’s worth you are entitled to do so and I won’t stop you.
>
> All the best
>
>
> Snakebustersâ - Australia's best reptilesâ
> The only hands-on reptilesâ shows that lets people hold the animalsâ.
> Reptile partiesâ, events, courses
> Phones: 9812 3322
> 0412 777 211
>
>
>
>
> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 00:26:41 -0700
> From: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Blind-snakes Australia - 2-3 times as many as
> thought....
> To: viper007 at live.com.au; rwrossco at gmail.com; envirodata at hotmail.com;
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>
>
>
> Dear Gents, Ladies, Dimwits and Raymond, but particularly Raymond:
>
> The reference of which you speak (but don't cite!) is presumably this:
> Marin, J. et al. (Early View, 2013): Hidden species diversity of Australian
> burrowing snakes (Ramphotyphlops). Biological journal of the Linnean
> Society, doi: 10.1111/bij.12132
>
> A search in the PDF for the name Hoser turns up nothing. Actually, I find
> the above article to be somewhat vague in terms of taxonomy/nomenclature,
> but at least they don't oversplit genera, like this fellow did in 2012:
> Hoser, R. 2012: A review of the extant Scolecophidians (“Blindsnakes”)
> including the formal naming and diagnosis of new tribes, genera, subgenera,
> species and subspecies for divergent taxa. Australasian journal of
> herpetology, (15): 1-64.
>
> I think many people here would say that if you name enough taxa willy
> nilly, a few names are bound to stick purely by chance ... so I wouldn't
> crow too loudly about it if I were you ... just a bit of friendly free
> advice ...
>
> Stephen
>
>
>
>
>
> From: Raymond Hoser - The Snakeman <viper007 at live.com.au>
> To: "rwrossco at gmail.com" <rwrossco at gmail.com>; "envirodata at hotmail.com" <
> envirodata at hotmail.com>; "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, 11 July 2013 6:17 PM
> Subject: [Taxacom] Blind-snakes Australia - 2-3 times as many as
> thought....
>
>
> Gents and ladies, did you see the latest from Marin, Donnellan, Vidal,
> Aplin and the rest this week.
>
> They say there are about 2-3 times the known number of blindsnake species
> in Australia
> with a series of phylogenies that upheld the species I recently named.
> - Bad news is they put them all in Ramphotyphlops .... (dimwits!).
>
> PS - Those who reckon everything is already named are dreaming!
> All the best
>
> Snakebustersâ - Australia's best reptilesâ
>
> The only hands-on reptilesâ shows that lets people hold the animalsâ.
>
> Reptile partiesâ, events, courses
> Phones: 9812 3322
>
> 0412 777 211
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
>
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org/
>
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
>
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
>
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
>



-- 
Scott Thomson
29400 Rt 6
Youngsville, PA, 16371
USA
(814) 230 1151
cell - (814) 779 8457
Skype: Faendalimas
http://www.carettochelys.com



More information about the Taxacom mailing list