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Exemplary descriptions

Started by Martin Spies, February 13, 2016, 02:44:18 PM

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Martin Spies

Two classic papers with remarkable descriptions and illustrations of reared immature stages can be downloaded from the website of the Belgian Royal Academy via the following links:
Goetghebuer (1912): http://www.academieroyale.be/cgi?lg=fr&pag=775&tab=227&rec=2095&frm=303&par=secorig656
Goetghebuer (1914): http://www.academieroyale.be/cgi?lg=fr&pag=775&tab=227&rec=2097&frm=303&par=secorig656

Chironomid systematics still suffers from the unfortunate fact that in subsequent decades those who set the standards for descriptive and analytical work too often failed to achieve reliable life-stage associations or sufficient resolution of morphological details.

One small example that has led me to presenting this Forum topic and post can be seen in Goetghebuer (1912) plate II, figure 7 and the corresponding text in the second-to-last paragraph on page 9. There, Goetghebuer showed the presence of two different groups and kinds of chaetae on the ventral, membranous part of the larval premandible in "Chironomus dispar Meigen" (currently Synendotendipes dispar (M.)).

In contrast, current standard references on larvae in Endochironomus sensu lato and Chironomini - e.g., Grodhaus (1987) in J. KANSAS ENT. SOC. 60(2) and Epler et al. (2013) in INSECT SYST. EVOL. SUPPL. 66, respectively - do not include any details on the premandibular 'brush' beyond whether it is present or absent.

Since this very recent discovery I have looked into the issue in a few Chironomini taxa only, but the results indicate that there is some significant variation in chaetation of the premandible that should prove helpful in taxonomic diagnostics and possibly beyond.

In my experience, the above is not an isolated phenomenon but just one of several examples of meaningful observations and precision achieved in the past but then left unused or entirely fallen through the cracks for whatever 'reason'. If chironomid research aspires to sustained growth of scientific knowledge, we should find and maintain effective mechanisms to preserve and keep accessible what has become known, rather than necessitate multiple efforts on identical achievements by allowing some of the latter to slip away.

Broughton A. Caldwell

The links to Goetghebuer 1912 and 1914 have been replaced by the following link for both publications:
https://www.academieroyale.be/fr/la-biographie-nationale-personnalites-detail/personnalites/maurice-goetghebuer/Vrai/

The illustrations are excellent!

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