Category Archives: Taxonomic Process

Morphological subtleties and the value of n > 1

Authors should consider illustrating two or more specimens of a species when trying to communicate the nature of some morphological trait in that species. Here’s why. In illustrating morphological features in a publication, authors typically choose one specimen to image … Continue reading

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The mysterious Bembidion ulkei

In Carl Lindroth’s (1963) classic work on the Bembidiina of Canada and Alaska, he describes some species that do not occur in Canada or Alaska.  These species were always a source of some mystery to me when I was a … Continue reading

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Names in native languages

In an early post, I talked about how naming a species after the native people of an area should be done with caution, and ideally with permission.  While a name of a tribe is potentially offensive, I had thought that … Continue reading

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Wicked and confused Bembidion

There are over 1200 known species of Bembidion.  Many of them are hard to tell apart.  They are small beetles.  Maybe for this reason some taxonomists have struggled with them, and their frustration occasionally is expressed when they name new … Continue reading

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Delightful DNA

Well, it looks as if Bembidion (Plataphus) curtulatum is at least three species.  The above bits of DNA show parts of 28S ribosomal DNA.  Of the 950 bases that were sequenced, this shows only those sites that differ from one … Continue reading

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Naming species and the danger of good intentions

It can be a bit of a challenge to come up with a meaningful name for a new beetle. I’m working on a paper or two in which I will be describing several new species of Bembidiina from North America.  … Continue reading

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