Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: What is “there?” Searching for the North American origin of the aphid Appendiseta robiniae
Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/20/2018
Publication Date: 12/28/2018
Citation: Miller, G.L., Metz, M., Wheeler Jr., A.G. 2018. What is “there?” Searching for the North American origin of the aphid Appendiseta robiniae. American Entomologist. 64(4):233-241.
Interpretive Summary: Taxonomy and systematics (i.e., naming/describing and classification) of an organism are the cornerstone of biological research. Subsequent research is dependent on this initial step. But, the process of systematics, especially during the discovery stage, is not well understood by the public nor many scientists who are not involved in systematic research. To illustrate this process, this paper uses an aphid (Appendiseta robiniae), its black locust host (Robinia pseudoacacia), the original locality and time of discovery (Denver, CO in 1907), and the entomologist who described the aphid (C.P. Gillette) to explain how the early stages of systematic research is conducted. The paper also includes research that addresses known distribution of the aphid and hypothesizes on the aphid's North American origin. This work will be an important to the layperson and non-systematist in understanding the process of entomological systematic research.
Technical Abstract: This study explores the process of conducting entomological research in taxonomy and systematics using a monotypic genus (Aphididae: Appendiseta) as an example. The paper uses Appendiseta robiniae Gillette, its black locust host (Robinia pseudoacacia), the original locality and time of discovery (Denver, CO in 1907), and the entomologist who described the aphid (C.P. Gillette) to illustrate what kind of questions must be considered during the early stages of conducting systematic research. This paper is direct toward layperson and the scientist not familiar with research in entomological systematics. Questions concerning A. robiniae's historical distribution are addressed, previous erroneous distribution records are noted, and new distributions are added.