[Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

Derek Sikes dssikes at alaska.edu
Thu Jul 25 15:45:25 CDT 2019


I see three basic options for dealing with the remaining 5+ million insects
awaiting names:

1) continue with our traditional integrated approach - low error rates, but
slow (at 10k new spp / year that's 500 more years minimum, to complete
this, meanwhile we're in the middle of the planet's 6th mass extinction

2) speed up our traditional methods using brief morphological diagnoses in
a manner typical of the 1800s (a few sentences, no illustrations) - high
error rates (as evidenced by the # of synonyms among older names)

3) speed up our traditional methods using DNA barcodes as diagnoses -
medium (or low-ish depending on taxon) error rates

this new approach fits option 3, balancing the need for speed with the need
for higher quality data. As long as the names are code compliant, why not?
Seems better than having all these DNA barcode BINs with just code names,
or these species going extinct before they're named.

Thankfully, my taxon is not hyperdiverse, so I'll stick with option 1, but
for those working in really hyperdiverse taxa with 90% undescribed rates,
I'd rather see them use option 3 than 2. In an ideal world, we'd have
enough research support to speed up option 1 by generating a much larger
work force of taxonomists. I don't think we live in an ideal world.


On Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 11:51 AM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> https://dez.pensoft.net/article/34683/
> Yikes!
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Derek S. Sikes, Curator of Insects
Professor of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
1962 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK   99775-6960

dssikes at alaska.edu

phone: 907-474-6278
FAX: 907-474-5469

University of Alaska Museum  -  search 400,276 digitized arthropod records

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