[Annelida] Hirudo and barcoding

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Wed Apr 18 21:34:13 EST 2007

J. Kirk Fitzhugh wrote:
> [...] If species are 
> not individuals, but rather refer to hypotheses, in the same way that 
> all supraspecific taxa are hypotheses, then not considering all 
> available relevant evidence in the inference of species leaves those 
> hypotheses suspect.  

Isn't an hypothesis by definition an unproven proposition and therefore 
'suspect'?  So what has changed? I don't get particularly concerned that 
a bar-coder's 'species' could have different bounds from the 
taxonomist's external morphology 'species', and that separately or 
together, or even with further information from other tools, that might 
still not reflect true reality, whatever that complicated reality is.

 > [...] So, it is reasonable that we should continue to
> call into question the rising popularity of barcoding, when sound 
> justification for such an approach is lacking.

Well I don't know what the more extravagant claims say can be done with 
the sequences alone. To me it seems just another tool, perhaps most 
appropriately deployed when conventional dead-animal morphology is not 
adequate but there is some evidence (like the live colour patterns of 
the Hirudo) which could indicate multiple taxa. To convince me it was an 
unsound tool in every application, you'd have to put up other arguments 
beyond that it is only partial evidence. I already know that and can 
adjust accordingly.


   Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

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