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Abstract

Good alpha taxonomy is central to biology. On the basis of a survey of arthropod studies that used multiple disciplines for species delimitation, we evaluated the performance of single disciplines. All included disciplines had a considerable failure rate. Rigor in species delimitation can thus be increased when several disciplines chosen for complementarity are used. We present a flexible procedure and stopping rule for integrative taxonomy that uses the information from different disciplines separately. Disagreement among disciplines over the number and demarcation of species is resolved by elucidating and invoking evolutionary explanations for disagreement. With the identification of further promising study organisms and of new questions for in-depth analysis, evolutionary biology should profit from integrative taxonomy. An important rationale is clarity in researcher bias in the decision-making process. The success of integrative taxonomy will further increase through methodological progress, taxonomic training of evolutionary biologists, and balanced resource allocation.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085432
2010-01-07
2024-06-23
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Supplementary Data

  • Article Type: Review Article
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