Would appreciate some feedback on a potential taxa change

Hey all,

I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle a small improvement to the Chlorochroa (Pentatomidae) taxon scheme. There are two uncommonly encountered species that are actually a part of two different subgenera within Chlorochroa that I would like to form some sort of taxon page for but I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this.

Relevant literature for reference: Taxonomic Status of the Genera Chlorochroa Stål, Rhytidolomia Stål, Liodermion Kirkaldy, and Pitedia Reuter, and Their Included Species (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) - DB Thomas, 1983

  • Thomas never referenced these as a species complex (perhaps being in different subgenera means they can’t be?) but the key he provides groups these two species together noting that male genitalia must be examined.

Chlorochroa (Chlorochroa) lineata and Chlorochroa (Rhytidolomia) faceta are the relevant species. Across many parts of their range, the males are distinguishable only by their genitalia- meaning that in photos, we can’t tell the difference unless the observation is from an area where only one species occurs. However, these two species are extremely easy to tell apart from any other members of Chlorochroa, so I think some sort of taxon page would be nice.

We actually have several observations currently ID’d as one species or the other (particularly in California) that aren’t possible to separate but I would like to have a place to move them so they don’t just sit at the general genus level and get lost.

The fact that these two are in different subgenera (and I do think that including these subgenera is important) makes me think that if I try to start making changes without checking with more experienced curators means I will wreak major havoc and probably destroy the site.

Thanks all, looking forward to hearing what you all have to say!



If these do not form a clade, there is no taxon that can be exclusively applied to them. Perhaps you could make an informal “species group” observation field and mark observations that way.


Andrew, this is an intriguing concept–informal species groupings which are not evolutionary clades. If I understand your example, the situation you describe relates to divergent taxa at the subgenus level (not just cryptic sister taxa) which are inseparable in photos but separable by traditional taxonomic techniques (e.g. dissection). I think I’m in line with @thomaseverest’s thinking that it wouldn’t be appropriate for a taxonomic structural change/addition, but could be the subject of an appropriate observation field.

My mind raced ahead to the realm of mimicry complexes (e.g. in butterflies) where phenotypic patterns are so similar among unrelated taxa. Some type of informational observational field could be constructed for any such group. Such a field would add value and context for any observations so annotated. I could see creating and using such a field to associate observations in mimicry complexes as diverse as one I just encountered in Guatemala. See me discussion on this Tortricid moth:
That complex is diverse and not as taxonomically problematic as your couple of Pentatomids but I think they both lend themselves to a similar treatment. My $0.02.


Thank you both for the input, much appreciated! And yes, you are correct in your interpretation of my example, @gcwarbler. I think the observation field is a solid way to address this little dilemma. Thanks!

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