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J Med Entomol. 2005 Nov;42(6):923-7.

Classification of mosquitoes in tribe Aedini (Diptera: Culicidae): Paraphylyphobia, and classification versus cladistic analysis.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


Many mosquito species are important vectors of human and animal diseases, and others are important nuisance species. To facilitate communication and information exchange among professional groups interested in vector-borne diseases, it is essential that a stable nomenclature be maintained. For the Culicidae, easily identifiable genera based on morphology are an asset. Major changes in generic concept, the elevation of 32 subgenera within Aedes to generic status, and changes in hundreds of species names proposed in a recent article demand consideration by all parties interested in mosquito-borne diseases. The entire approach to Aedini systematics of these authors was flawed by an inordinate fear of paraphyletic taxa or Paraphylyphobia, and their inability to distinguish between classification and cladistic analysis. Taxonomists should refrain from making taxonomic changes based on preliminary data, and they should be very selective in assigning generic names to only the most important and well-defined groups of species.

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