Tag Archives: taxonomy

How many people does it take to describe a new species?

The Myth of the Solitary Taxonomist goes a bit like this: Solitary Taxonomist goes away to an exotic place, usually with at least one hazard to life and limb, usually land leeches. Collects a specimen. Recognizes it immediately as a … Continue reading

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High fliers: a new paper on some new arctic flies

Many people see the arctic as a pretty barren place, with not much biological diversity. In fact, one of the most well-known patterns in ecology — the latitudinal diversity gradient — incorporates that idea. As you leave the tropics and … Continue reading

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Who’s that fly and WHAT is it eating? A new paper from the lab

One of the most widely used products of taxonomy is the identification key. A key allows somebody who isn’t a specialist on a particular group to put a name on an unknown species. At least, that’s how it all works … Continue reading

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Spiders with an identity crisis: a new taxonomy paper

Two wolf spiders, whose names are Pardosa lapponica and Pardosa concinna, run across open ground all over northern Canada. Here’s the problem: these two species of spiders live in a lot of the same places, and they look very similar. Katie … Continue reading

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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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