Thursday, June 10, 2010

A new Asphinctopone and way of publishing

Peter Hawkes just published the description of a new species of Asphinctopone, A. pilosa. This is an interesting read and shows some ways on how to present taxonomic data.

The extensive description of only one specimen, the holotype, is followed by lavish, standard digital photography, and most importantly, distribution maps. It shows not just where the ant has been found, but where its congers have been found, pointing out that this find is important because it dramatically expands the distribution to the East of Africa. What I like though is that he added an additional map, the potential distribution map derived from a bioclimatic model (BIOCLIM). One might discuss, whether this approach can be applied to an entire genus (as done here) rather than a single species, but it shows clearly a way that would help to understand the distribution of species much better than how we ordinarily present our data.
The missing point is, that the data of this analyis is not available nor in the present publication nor GBIF.