Nereis - nomenclature

Kirk Fitzhugh fitzhugh at
Tue Feb 10 14:15:28 EST 1998

I'm thrilled to hear that Robin Wilson has a cladistic analysis just
waiting to be published. Robin, don't hold off on this. The whole point of
publishing such an analysis is to get people thinking and talking about
these issues. It should come as little surprise to many that Neanthes
could be paraphyletic. Keep in mind as well that cladistic analyses don't
carry with them the requirement that taxonomic revisions be performed.
The analysis provides illumination for us all as to what problem areas
need to be addressed regardless of whether one revises a group or not. For
example, I have two papers coming out this year on cladistic
relationships among fabriciin sabellid genera. Among the thousands of
trees I looked at, there are many topologies with some major genera as
para- or polyphyletic. I'm certainly not going to sink a whole bunch of
genera right now from these analyses because I suspect much of the problem
is the rapid increase in species discovered and the small number of
characters I have. What I think is more important at this time is to make
accessible the data that are available. 

Good luck Robin.

Kirk Fitzhugh

Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Associate Curator of Polychaetes
Research & Collections Branch
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007
Phone:   213-763-3233
FAX:     213-746-2999
e-mail:  fitzhugh at

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