The Bombus fervidus species complex includes two species (as genetically determined) and two species (as phenotypically determined) but the two “species” are not concordant. Both genetic species have both morphologies. It is not known to which of the two genetic species the type specimens belong, so it’s possible that both of the type specimens belong to just one of the genetic species (rendering one of the species names invalid).
Phylogeny and population genetic analyses reveals cryptic speciation in the Bombus fervidus species complex (Hymenoptera: Apidae) (plos.org)
Long story short, I think this is a good use of a species complex. But before I get into too much trouble, I’d like some advice on creating the species complex. During the process of creating the complex, are observations of the two species automatically subsumed into the complex, or will all of the observations have to be manually re-identified?
After reading that, I am so glad I live in the midwest where our Bombus are nice and simple.
To answer this directly: the observations currently identified as either species will stay identified as them. All that would be done is moving the species below the complex, essentially making it their ‘parent’ taxon.
I tried to create it, but wouldn’t accept it. Guess I don’t know what I’m doing. Or perhaps because there’s a subgenus. The curator guide states…“Species complex should be used sparingly (only when necessary and helpful) and with the following criteria: A named subgenus, section, or series does not already exist for the group”. That would be too bad as there are ~50 species within the subgenus and it would be nice to be able to designate a specimen as clearly not 48 of those 50, but rather, one of the two which is in the species complex…
If the complex only includes species in the subgenus, you would create the complex within the subgenus, not directly under the genus.
Thanks, that helped me muddle my way through the process.
I’m commenting re: taxonomy, since it looks like you successfully added the complex, which I agree with. The paper seems to say visually distinguishing the two species is impossible in some parts of their ranges, although not in all. So, there are two species, the names seem valid, and it’s just a matter of which observations/specimens can confidently be assumed to be one of them. For example, for observations in parts of their range where they’re thought to be impossible to distinguish, you or others could add species complex IDs to the existing IDs for that reason.
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