Tag Archives: taxonomy

The flavours of loss: a tale of a moth

Loss comes in many forms. Sometimes loss is a sharp, sudden thing; sometimes it’s a slow, fading twilight, creeping in so slowly you don’t even notice when it gets there. This is a story about both those kinds of loss. … Continue reading

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A moth, a fern, a feline: a species name story

As taxonomists, we give names to new species that we describe. The name is entirely up to us (within a few limits imposed by rules of grammar, and a recommendation that they not be offensive). Sometimes it’s easy to figure … Continue reading

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A fruit fly is not a mammal, and other revelations from the museum

There’s been a lot of discussion in the past day about a new paper published in Science. The paper is an opinion piece about an argument that’s played out many times in the past, namely: should scientists kill specimens to … Continue reading

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Revisionist history: new taxonomy of old flies

Taxonomy is a dynamic science. It evolves over time. We collect new specimens, we develop new tools for studying biodiversity, and our theoretical approaches to describing the diversity of life change. All of these developments mean that the names of … Continue reading

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Two flies, one leaf: new leafminers from Costa Rica

There are many reasons why insects are the most diverse group of animals on the planet One of them is herbivory. Feeding on plants opens a huge number of opportunities for insects to diversify. There are new food sources to … Continue reading

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Out of Africa: more strange flies

Preamble: The fly family Chloropidae (the frit flies or grass flies or eye gnats) is one of the most geographically widespread, abundant, species-rich, and ecologically diverse families of flies on Earth. Although almost 3000 species have been described, and some … Continue reading

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Taxonomy with or without natural history?

My colleague Chris Buddle has asked an interesting and important question about taxonomic descriptions and natural history data. Specifically: Should taxonomists wait to describe a species until there are some details known about its natural history? Chris and I both … Continue reading

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