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Type: Article
Published: 2007-12-21
Page range: 395–411
Abstract views: 53
PDF downloaded: 2

The insect Order Thysanoptera: Classification versus Systematics*

Honorary Research Fellow, CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Thysanoptera systematics classification phylogeny 18S rDNA


Two widely different classifications of the insect order Thysanoptera are discussed; an essentially phylogenetic system recognizing nine families in two suborders, and an essentially phenetic system recognizing 40 families in two orders. This paper emphasizes the distinction between “classification” and “systematics”, the former stressing the importance of differences, whereas the latter stresses the importance of derived similarities. A phylogenetic (i.e. systematic) classification incorporates predictions concerning evolutionary relationships that are important throughout biological studies, whether in host and parasite associations, biogeography, comparative physiology or development. The available phenetic classification of Thysanoptera serves no such broader purpose in biology. Recent molecular data derived from the gene 18S rDNA are analysed, but although some groups of taxa are well resolved, the deep relationships within the Thysanoptera remain unclear.


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