Myriapoda and Onychophora constitute two clades of mostly soil-dwelling multi-legged panarthropods, once thought to form the clade Uniramia, but now genomic evidence strongly suggest that Onychophora is the sister group of Arthropoda, where myriapods are nested. Their ecological roles as predators (onychophorans and centipedes) or as major groups digesting vegetal matter in the soil (millepedes) make them some of the most important and oldest inhabitants of forests around the world. In addition, several lineages have also adapted to dry environments. Invertebrate Systematics has traditionally published major studies on the systematics, biogeography and species delimitation of myriapods and onychophorans, and continues to seek high-quality integrative papers using these two groups as models. We also hope to incorporate studies on the two other groups of myriapods, symphylans and pauropods, to make our journal a major venue to cover evolutionary biology research in myriapods and onychophorans. The articles compiled in this virtual issue include several examples of the integrative work we expect to publish in our journal, and welcome submissions of your best work on myriapods and onychophorans.
To celebrate 30 years of publication of Invertebrate Systematics, this virtual issue contains some of our most highly citing papers.
Invertebrate Systematics has focused on the publication of primary research and review articles on all aspects related to systematics of invertebrates, including taxonomic papers with a focus on evolution and ecology. Some of these papers are highly cited and have introduced novel concepts broadly used in evolutionary biology, such as ‘short-range endemics’. Many articles have had a traditional focus on the Australian biota, our journal having served as a major venue for publishing new discoveries on the stygobiont Australian fauna and groundwater biology, or to understand endemism in different Australian biomes.
From a taxonomic perspective, the journal has published major systematic and revisionary studies in a variety of invertebrates belonging to most animal phyla from all over the world and covering terrestrial, limnic and marine taxa. Many systematic studies have introduced new techniques, phylum-level analyses, or densely-sampled phylogenies of specific groups, almost always bearing on broader aspects of the biogeography of those groups.
Finally, a collection of more theoretical papers related to aspects of the practice of systematics, the use of DNA for describing taxa, or discussions about whether morphology should always be required for describing species, have appeared in issues of our journal in the past few years. Clearly, Invertebrate Systematics has become one of the preferred journals for many invertebrate systematists from around the globe.
The field of molluscan research has flourished since the times of Linnaeus, and more recently great advances have been made in multiple areas from deep phylogenies to species delimitation analyses using molecular and morphological data. In this virtual issue, we have compiled a collection of articles covering a diversity of taxa (Bivalvia, Cephalopoda, Gastropoda, Polyplacophora) and approaches (molecular, morphological – including morphometrics – and total evidence) to better understand molluscan diversification at different time-scales. These articles encompass work conducted in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Americas and Europe and include work and species found globally, highlighting both the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the science published in Invertebrate Systematics.
The Decapoda is the most familiar and largest of the Crustacean orders and includes the crabs, shrimps, prawns, lobsters and crayfishes. Some of these have been long studied as model organisms, and others are gastronomic delicacies. Even so, their complicated systematics demands ongoing research. Invertebrate Systematics has published many significant studies of the Decapoda, of which 12 are showcased in this virtual issue. Launched to coincide with the 8th International Crustacean Congress in Frankfurt, Germany (18-23 August 2014), this collection spans molecular and morphological phylogenetic and revisionary taxonomic studies of crabs, crayfish, freshwater and marine shrimps.
The Hymenoptera are one of the largest insect orders and include ants, bees, sawflies and wasps. Invertebrate Systematics has published many important studies on hymenopterans, 14 of which are showcased in this virtual issue. Launched to coincide with the 8th International Congress of Hymenopterists in Cusco, Peru (20-25 July 2014), this significant collection comprises molecular and morphological phylogenetic and taxonomic studies on a wide range of families, including Apidae, Aulacidae, Braconidae, Chalcidoidea, Cynipoidea, Formicidae, Gasteruptiidae, Maamingidae, Melittidae, Orussidae, Platygastridae and Stephanidae, and apocritan parasitoid groups in general.
In recent years, significant advances have been made in understanding the systematics and evolution of arachnids. This virtual issue, launched to coincide with the 19th International Congress of Arachnology in Taiwan in June 2013, comprises 12 important studies on arachnids from Invertebrate Systematics. They include the description of a new Afrotropical family of Laniatores harvestmen (Pyramidopidae); a phylogenetic analysis of mite harvestman (Stylocellidae); phylogenetic studies on various groups of spiders from the Dictynoidea, Leptonetidae, Linyphiidae, Lycosoidea, Mimetidae, Nephilidae, Pisauridae, Psechridae and Theridiidae; and an exploration of the taxonomy and phylogeny of subterranean schizomids. These papers encompass studies undertaken in Africa, Australia, Europe, south-east Asia and North America, and several combine morphological and molecular approaches. Together, the publications in this virtual issue reveal key aspects of the systematics, biology and biogeography of these invertebrate animals.