Molecular phylogenetics and the biology of endangerment in North American Lepidoptera
Paul Z. Goldstein, email@example.com, Field Museum of Natural History, Division of Insects, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
Deducing science-based priorities for the conservation of natural areas in North America—and abroad—relies fundamentally on specimen-based, species-based, and species assemblage-based, information. Without belaboring the perpetual and contentious debates over species concepts, a number of critical issues, both scientific and legislative, surround the equation of legitimately imperiled biological entities with formally recognized taxonomic entities. These issues include the recognition of numerous distinct but as yet undescribed species, and a prevalence of potentially misleading subspecific epithets. In no groups of organisms are these issues more challenging than invertebrates, which do not enjoy the same levels of protection as vertebrates under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Examples of the relevance of molecular data from extant and extirpated populations of threatened North American insects, most notably Mitchell’s Satyr Neonympha mitchellii (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) and the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle Cicindela d. dorsalis (Coleoptera: Carabidae) illustrate some of the pitfalls relying too heavily on subspecific names to the exclusion of systematic understanding.
Species 1: Lepidoptera Nymphalidae Neonymphamitchellii Species 2: Coleoptera Carabidae Cicindeladorsalis Keywords: invertebrate conservation, phylogenetic species