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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #328098

Research Project: Systematics of Flies of Importance in Agroecosystems and the Environment

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Integrative taxonomy: Where we are now, with a focus on the resolution of three tropical fruit fly species complexes

Author
item Schutze, Mark - Queensland University Of Technology
item Virgilio, Massimiliano - Royal Museum For Central Africa
item Norrbom, Allen
item Clarke, Anthony - Queensland University Of Technology

Submitted to: Annual Review of Entomology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2016
Publication Date: 2/2/2017
Citation: Schutze, M.K., Virgilio, M., Norrbom, A.L., Clarke, A.R. 2017. Integrative taxonomy: Where we are now, with a focus on the resolution of three tropical fruit fly species complexes. Annual Review Of Entomology. 62:147-64.

Interpretive Summary: Excluding pest species that threaten U.S. agriculture is a primary mission of USDA, and the ability to accurately identify these pests is critical to this mission. Integrative taxonomy attempts to use multidisciplinary data to accurately delimit species and improve capabilities to diagnose them. This paper reviews the state of integrative taxonomy and its use in resolving three important fruit fly species complexes as a case study. The integrative taxonomic approach helped deliver significant advances in resolving the complexes: in one complex taxa previously considered distinct were proven to be the same biological species; in the other two complexes, the existence of multiple cryptic species confused under a single name was confirmed. Nevertheless, the widespread application of integrative taxonomy was not without issue and revealed challenges that must be considered when undertaking an integrative taxonomy project. Scrutiny of this international case study provides a unique opportunity to document ‘lessons learned’ for the benefit of not only tephritid taxonomists, but also for the wider taxonomic community. This information will be useful to regulatory agencies, such as APHIS-PPQ, and to taxonomists and other scientists studying species complexes.

Technical Abstract: Accurate species delimitation underpins good taxonomy. Formalisation of integrative taxonomy in the last decade has provided a framework for using multidisciplinary data to increase rigor in species delimitation hypotheses. We address the state of integrative taxonomy by using an international project targeted at resolving three important tephritid species complexes (Bactrocera dorsalis complex, Anastrepha fraterculus complex, Ceratitis FAR complex) as a case study. The integrative taxonomic approach helped deliver significant advances in resolving the complexes; from identifying some taxa as being same biological species, to confirming hidden cryptic diversity under a single taxonomic name. Nevertheless, the widespread application of integrative taxonomy was not without issue and revealed challenges that must be considered when undertaking an integrative taxonomy project. Scrutiny of this international case study provides a unique opportunity to document ‘lessons learned’ for the benefit of not only tephritid taxonomists, but also for the wider taxonomic community.