Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:17 AM

Making taxonomy fun: A new generation tool for identifying invasive ants

E. M. Sarnat,, University of California -- Davis, Department of Entomology, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA

Recent advances in imaging, information technology and matrix-based diagnostics are combining to push insect taxonomy towards a new paradigm. PIAkey incorporates technological advancements of the past decade to create a user-friendly, accessible and affordable Lucid tool for identifying invasive ant species of the Pacific region. The current version of the key treats three subfamilies, 12 genera and 25 species representing the most economically and environmentally destructive invasive ants. The specific challenges and benefits encountered in the development of PIAkey are framed in a more general discussion of the past, present and future of insect taxonomy with a specific emphasis on invasive species.