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.