Home Economics American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease, Second Edition: One Hundred Years of Research
Such a beam of arguments should be more frequently used by entomologists to support their description of a new species. Thus morphological description, multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE), cytogenetics, DNA sequences, nuclear or mitochondrial levels of sequence divergence, as well as the amount of morphometric and APH differences, or any other approach, should not be used alone as a single argument to support species assignment.
Even in the case of multidisciplinary studies converging to the hypothesis of a separate evolutionary lineage, reaching a consensus about the idea of a new taxonomic name is not easy. A consensus indeed involves more than the use of various characterizing techniques, it requires to consider the quality of scientific communication and, for medically important insects, the epidemiological relevance of taxonomic changes.
With Schofield and Galvao18 revising the taxonomy of Triatominae, we believe that in spite of discrepancies between typological and modern classifications, and especially for medically important insects, it is important to preserve the communication between operational teams. With Savage139 and Wilkerson et al.143 criticizing the too many taxonomic changes138 required by the phylogeny of another group of vectors (the Aedinae), we recommend to entomologists to be particularly reluctant to create new genera for well-known species, suggesting them to create subgenera instead, if justified.
Triatominae display a high degree of morphological plasticity,21,22 which has been also referred to as “phenetic drift.”18 Because of that, entomologists face situations where morphological differences exist between groups (mainly size or/and color variation) without clear genetic support, and others where genetic variation seems important without morphological discriminating traits, or even without established reproductive isolation. Thus, morphological or genetic variation should not lead per se to the erection of a new species.
Consensually recognized evolutionary lineages should not be given a new name unless clear and usable morphological characters be described. Possible changes should be limited to very particular circumstances, they should be applied to morphologically diagnosable entities and should provide a benefit to the biological or to the epidemiological knowledge of the group.
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