Poor taxonomic sampling undermines nomenclatural stability: A reply to Roxo et al. (2019)

Roberto E Reis, Heraldo A Britski, Marcelo R Britto, Paulo A Buckup, Bárbara B Calegari, Priscila Camelier, Maria Laura S Delapieve, Francisco Langeani, Pablo A Lehmann, Paulo H F Lucinda, Manoela Marinho, Fernanda O Martins, Naércio A Menezes, Cristiano R Moreira, Mário C C DE Pinna, Carla S Pavanelli, Lucia H Rapp Py-Daniel, Leandro M Sousa
Zootaxa 2019 December 2, 4701 (5): zootaxa.4701.5.10
A recent study based on genomic data by Roxo et al. (2019) provided a phylogeny of the Loricariidae, the largest catfish family and second largest Neotropical fish family with approximately 1,000 species. The study represents a valuable and innovative contribution for understanding higher-level relationships within the family. The phylogenetic tree inferred by Roxo et al. (2019) thoroughly corroborates the monophyly and relationships of most currently accepted subfamilies of Loricariidae, based on a fair taxon sampling (nearly 14% of the species in the family) representing most genera of each but one of the subfamilies, the Lithogeninae, the sister-group of the remaining members of the family (Pereira & Reis, 2017; Reis et al., 2017). In addition to a hypothesis of relationships, Roxo et al. (2019) also proposed a series of lower-level taxonomic changes, which are deemed premature considering that the taxonomic sampling of the study targeted higher-level clades, and go against one of the pillars of biological classification: nomenclatural stability (e.g., Heterick & Majer, 2018; Beninger & Backeljau, 2019). Here we (1) discuss implications of inadequate taxonomic sampling as a basis for changes in classification of species; (2) explain why the taxonomic sampling design of Roxo et al. (2019) is inadequate for the proposed nomenclatural changes; and (3) advocate that changes to classifications must be grounded on phylogenies with dense sampling of taxa at the relevant level.

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