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100 Lectures on Insect Taxonomy

已有 1188 次阅读 2022-10-6 12:12 |个人分类:学会工作|系统分类:科研笔记

100 Lectures on Insect Taxonomy

(100 eLIT)

昆虫分类学系列讲座(中文版本 - https://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-536560-1344993.html

After a period of discussion with peers, I am going to put some pressure on myself and some young entomologists to put the series of lectures on insect taxonomy on the agenda. Some time ago, when representing the work of insect diversity monitoring and reporting, I did put forward the idea in preparation, hoping that peers would supervise the implementation, and welcome comments and suggestions.

By integrating multiple types of data, especially molecular information, the efficiency of insect species delimitation has been greatly improved. At the same time, we have developed a molecular phylogenetic informatics protocol, which has a strong quantitative analysis ability of insect diversity data. However, no matter what type of data is used, what new methods or analytical processes are applied, we cannot go ahead without insect taxonomy based on external morphological research. The increasingly promising artificial intelligence technology must also have a good reserve of species knowledge. This is particularly important and valuable in China, where a large number of species have not been studied. At present, there is a looming trend that some young people who have not received solid training in insect morphology and insect taxonomy have entered the industry with love for insects. At the same time, even if there are quite a number of talents who have received good training, they can only be modest in the face of groups that are not of their own topic. Especially when studying insect diversity, most taxonomists can hardly identify multiple different groups accurately and efficiently in a short time. One of the important reasons is that insects are highly specialized and the taxonomic characteristics mastered by group experts are highly specialized, forming a high barrier to cross groups.

In addition, after more than 100 years of development, insect taxonomy in China has entered a new historical stage. For many taxa, Chinese scholars have published new species every year, which runs into the forefront of the world. Take Hymenoptera as an example: there are 83 journal papers related to the new taxa of Hymenoptera in China in 2021, and 234 new taxa entries are added, which belong to 17 superfamilies, 34 families and 91 genera respectively, including 3 new genera (1 new genus of extinct group) and 231 new species (2 new species of extinct group). The number of new species published in China is the largest, accounting for 24.2% (229), which plays a very important role in the taxonomy of Hymenoptera in the world. However, we still face some challenges in the inheritance and innovation of the discipline: 1) lack of updated version of textbooks of entomology that keep pace with the times; 2) Lack of development of new theories, methods and standard series; 3) Lack of Chinese classification reference books specific to superfamilies, families and below; 4) Lack of basic biological information such as life history, behavior; 5) Lack of colorful ecological atlas makes it difficult to popularize the knowledge of insect taxonomy; 6) For some groups, only 1-2 experts have been studying them hard for a long time, which is difficult to sustain; 7) There are fewer and fewer insect morphological classification posts, and the funding available tends to be random. With the retirement of a group of outstanding taxonomists, the insect taxonomic research team is slowly shrinking or even on the verge of being lost. Insect taxonomy in China seems to be prosperous, but in fact there is a "hidden danger": few universities and departments offer degrees on entomology, and professional morphological taxonomists are even more "endangered" than taxa!

When discussing this issue with predecessors and colleagues, I spontaneously considered gathering the intelligence and wisdom of experts from different groups of insects to develop a knowledge base that can hide insect taxonomy among the people for China. This database needs theoretical discussion, skill discussion, and accumulation of research experience of different groups. One insect has its own world, and insect taxonomy is broad and profound despite its "small skills". Each insect group has successfully evolved and adapted for a long time, forming unique functional traits and species diversity. Taxonomy experts have profound morphological skills, and they have unique advantages in discussing insect characteristics in this field. If we can use storage and Internet technology to leave a professional knowledge detail for each group, we can leave a possibility for younger people who are interested in insect taxonomy research in the future. At the same time, these professional knowledge will also provide guidance for other scholars interested in insects.

A single spark can start a prairie fire; a trickle can converge into a sea. It is hoped that through eLIT, the training class can ignite the spark of insect taxonomy and leave dreams and expectations for discipline inheritance and innovation. 100 issues are planned preliminarily. Welcome to contact us and join the series of lectures!

Annex 1: List of preparatory work

1. Prepare for the list of young and middle-aged classified scholars (according to the general discipline: continuously updated); external specialists are also welcome to join. 

2. Discuss and arrange the coordinators of various groups (according to the purpose: voluntary);

3. Invite 3-5 senior insect taxonomists to guide, comment and improve the report (done);

4. Brief introduction of the reporter (fixed format: under discussion);

5. Invite the taxonomist/speaker to introduce the external morphological nouns of the group (color pictures: under discussion between speaker and group coordinators); external taxonomists can be invited by Chinese partners;

6. Collect the taxonomist/speaker 's detailed introduction to the research history related to the group (fixed format, with pictures and texts);

7. 1-2 stories of the reporter's field collection or indoor work of the group;

8. Coordinate the schedule of each group (above: under discussion between the committee and group coordinators);

9. Posters were jointly released by the Entomological Society of China, the  Entomological Society of Beijing, Beijing Biodiversity Science Research Society and the Ecological Society of Beijing. The societies where the coordinator is located will be added automatically to the list;

10. A series of lectures (under discussion) jointly funded by the China Biodiversity Observation and Research Network (Sino-BON, Insect Network) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences;

11. The taxonomist/speakers and ten new species of the year (fixed format: under discussion between speaker and group corrdinators) are recommended in combination with the group reports of the meeting of Insect taxonomy and Faunistics and the Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of China;

12. Compile into volumes (electronic or hardcopies: under discussion).

Attachment 2: Working Group


Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Zhu Chaodong, Bai Ming

China Agricultural University

Liu Xingyue

Nanjing Agricultural University

Zhang Feng

Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University

Dai Wu

Capital Normal University

Gao Taiping

Guizhou University

Yi Tianci


Chinese - Luo Arong, Zhou Qingsong

External - Michael Orr


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