Archivos de diario de septiembre 2019

02 de septiembre de 2019

Australian MothTaxonomy / Ecology and the role of iNaturalist

There is an all to common a problem with Lep taxonomy ... who is the authority? I come from an ornithological background whereby there are over-arching nomenclatural authorities for specific geographical regions. The Australian Faunal Directory could be such an authority. However, as has been pointed out several occasions by Roger Kendrick and others, the listing may be out-of-date regarding Lep taxonomy. AFD still lists Ardices as a synonym of Spilosoma for example though in a recent iNat discussion more recent work reverses the synonym. See ...

This has been especially troublesome for iNat entries as any given week (for the past 18 months) I am aware of a dozen or so duplicate taxon pages for Australian moth species. But which name should take precedent? Apart from my unfamiliarity with the literature, there remains the conundrum posed by Ethan ... namely has a taxon change been adopted and by whom.

By way of example and not to get off topic ... do I propose

Nanaguna clopaea (35 iNat entries)
Etanna clopaea (60 iNat entries)

or vice-a-versa? BTW, Lep Index only recognizes Nanaguna clopaea.

This poses two questions. The obvious taxonomic issue which all too often buries the data management issue that impacts our ecological understanding (or lack thereof) for the species.

The first is to be resolved by taxonomic authorities. Is there an Australian working group dedicated to resolving these matters? But should we not accept, within the context of citizen science, temporary placeholders to facilitate ecological understanding?

--------------------------------------Post Script (a lament) ----------------------------------

This subject has pre-occupied much of my day for the past 2 years. Forty years ago this week, I started on a path in evolutionary biology as a taxonomist and museum trays were to become more familiar to me than my sock draw. From SEM study of dinoflagellate algae to species diagnoses involving Trichoptera, I put my time in. But the 20 years of work on endangered species recovery taught me the real meaning behind the nomenclature ... associating a species with its ecology allowing the basis for environmental management. That may seem to be stating the obvious, yet I feel the need to say it. I estimate there are 100-150 undescribed (not unknown) Australian moth species (identified by ANIC number) in iNaturalist. But in the absence of a means by which these species can be attached to a record of its distribution and seasonality, the entry cannot inform management decisions.

Yes, we desperately need more taxonomists. But that takes time and time is running out ...

Publicado el septiembre 2, 2019 03:10 TARDE por vicfazio3 vicfazio3 | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario