Proposal (346) to South American Classification Committee


Eliminar de la "Main List" los nombres de las subfamilias


A pesar de que en la "SACC Main list" se aclara que: "Most traditional subfamilies are omitted unless supported by multiple independent data sets that mark major, deep branches within a family", en la pr‡ctica no parece ser as’, sino que la inclusi—n de subfamilias ha sido realizada aparentemente en forma arbitraria. En las primeras familias de no-Passeres hay s—lo una familia con subfamilias: Anatidae, con dos subfamilias: Dendrocygninae y Anatinae. ŔCu‡l es la importancia de Dendrocygninae para ser la śnica subfamilia nombrada?, no es claro. Adem‡s, en el HBW es s—lo una tribu (Dendrcygnini). Luego aparecen subfamilias reciŽn en Hydrobatidae: Oceanitinae e Hydrobatinae. ŔTiene esto importancia como para que sea destacado? La pr—xima aparici—n de una subfamilia es en Falconidae: Herpetotherinae (est‡ dentro de Falconinae en la NACC) y Falconinae. Otra vez; Ŕtiene esto importancia como para que justifique indicarlo? Luego aparecen subfamilias reciŽn en Laridae: Larinae y Sterninae. En este caso est‡ mejor justificado porque en muchos casos se las trata como familias diferentes, pero de todos modos la cosa no va a cambiar mucho porque se las elimine. DespuŽs pasa a Cuculidae: Cuculinae, Crotophaginae y Neomorphinae; importancia? Luego a Trochilidae: Topazinae, Phaethornitinae y Trochilinae; importancia? ...y ya no hay m‡s en no-Passeres. Algo similar sucede con Passeres.


Recomendaciones: como considero que las subfamilias incluidas han sido realizadas en forma arbitraria, voto SI a esta propuesta.


Manuel Nores, May 2008




Comments from Remsen: "NO. Subfamily designations, for which we have been fairly conservative, reflect major, deep splits in those families revealed by recent data. If references for any of those are missing, let me know. Many or most have been treated as families by other authors or have been proposed as warranting family-level designation. Adding subdivisions that denote monophyletic groups improves the information content of a classification. We should be open to removing or adding these, but on a case by case basis."


Comments from Cadena: "NO. I agree with Van's point and don't think that current designation of subfamilies is arbitrary. The importance of recognizing lineages below the family level (and above genera) is that these highlight the existence of monophyletic groups, so this is informative from an evolutionary perspective. It's true that we do not recognize subfamilies in many groups, but I don't see why recognizing them when supported by strong phylogenies is a problem."


Comments from Stiles: "A qualified NO. I sympathize with Manuel that the inconsistency is a bit irritating at times, but agree with Van that the inclusion of subfamilies where the data so indicate adds information to the classification. The frustrating point is obviously that in many families where we do not indicate subfamilies, this is more from a lack of appropriate genetic data than anything else (combined with ignoring morphology-based distinctions?) Actually, one of my piques with the increasingly genetics-based classification is that there has been a near-total lack of serious attempts to reinterpret the morphological data to arrive at meaningful diagnoses of redefined taxa - it sometimes seems that the molecular workers are ignoring the phenotypes of the birds they so gaily reclassify. The last person to really do the associated morphological spadework in any comprehensive way was none other than Sibley (whose classification has been falsified at many points). Also, there seem to be cases where subfamily status (as defined by deep splits) could be assigned, but again, the taxonomic spadework has been neglected. Saltatorinae? Etc!"


Comments from Pacheco: "NO. O emprego de subcategorias j‡ tem sido bastante limitado no SACC. Entendo que a sua utilizaŤ‹o _ caso a caso _ pode ser um artif’cio aceit‡vel para preservar o detalhe de conhecimento alcanŤado pelas an‡lises dispon’veis."


Comments from Stotz: "NO. We probably need to be more systematic ourselves in thinking about which we want to emphasize, and I completely agree with Gary that the complete failure to attempt to define taxa with morphological/behavioral characters is I think a generally unfortunate result of the current redefining of many of taxa based on genetic data. This applies to many taxa, not just subfamilies."


Comments from Zimmer: "NO, for reasons already stated by several committee members."


Comments from Jaramillo: "NO - for the reasons noted by Van."