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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 26(6)

What happens to the traditional taxonomy when a well-known tropical saturniid moth fauna is DNA barcoded?

Daniel H. Janzen A I , Winnie Hallwachs A , Donald J. Harvey B , Karolyn Darrow B , Rodolphe Rougerie C , Mehrdad Hajibabaei D , M. Alex Smith D , Claudia Bertrand D , Isidro Chacon Gamboa E , Bernardo Espinoza E , J. Bolling Sullivan F , Thibaud Decaens C , Daniel Herbin G , Luis Felipe Chavarria H , Ruth Franco H , Hazel Cambronero H , Sergio Rios H , Freddy Quesada H , Guillermo Pereira H , Johan Vargas H , Adrian Guadamuz H , Roberto Espinoza H , Jorge Hernandez H , Lucia Rios H , Elieth Cantillano H , Roster Moraga H , Calixto Moraga H , Petrona Rios H , Manuel Rios H , Ricardo Calero H , Dinia Martinez H , Duvalier Briceño H , Minor Carmona H , Edwin Apu H , Keiner Aragon H , Cirilo Umaña H , Jose Perez H , Ana Cordoba H , Pablo Umaña H , Gloria Sihezar H , Osvaldo Espinoza H , Carolina Cano H , Elda Araya H , Dunia Garcia H , Harry Ramirez H , Manuel Pereira H , Jose Cortez H , Mariano Pereira H , Waldy Medina H and Paul D. N. Hebert D

A Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
B Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560-0105, USA.
C Laboratoire ECODIV, Université de Rouen, Batiment IRESE A, Place Emile Blondel, F-76821, Mont Saint Aignan Cedex, France.
D Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
E INBio, Apartado Postal 22-3100, Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica.
F 200 Craven Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA.
G 7 Lot Clos Lutche, F-31380 GARIDECH, France.
H Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Apdo. 169-5000, Liberia, Costa Rica.
I Corresponding author. Email: djanzen@sas.upenn.edu

Invertebrate Systematics 26(6) 478-505 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS12038
Submitted: 8 May 2012  Accepted: 22 September 2012   Published: 19 December 2012


 
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Abstract

Biodiversity of tropical Saturniidae, as measured through traditionally described and catalogued species, strongly risks pooling cryptic species under one name. We examined the DNA barcodes, morphology, habitus and ecology of 32 ‘well known’ species of dry forest saturniid moths from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG) in north-western Costa Rica and found that they contain as many as 49 biological entities that are probably separate species. The most prominent splitting of traditional species – Eacles imperialis, Automeris zugana, Automeris tridens, Othorene verana, Hylesia dalina, Dirphia avia, Syssphinx molina, Syssphinx colla, and Syssphinx quadrilineata – is where one species was believed to breed in dry forest and rain forest, but is found to be two biological entities variously distinguishable by DNA barcodes and morphology, habitus, and/or microecological distribution. This implies that ‘standard’ biological information about each traditional species may be an unconscious mix of interspecific information, and begs renewed DNA barcoding, closer attention to so-called intraspecific variation, and increased museum collection and curation of specimens from more individual and ecologically characterised sites – as well as eventually more species descriptions. Simultaneously, this inclusion of sibling species as individual entities in biodiversity studies, rather than pooled under one traditional name, reduces the degree of ecological and evolutionary generalisation perceived by the observer.



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