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1 April 2010 What We Don't Recognize Can Hurt Us: A Plea for Awareness About Cryptic Species
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Abstract

We conducted an extensive literature review on studies that have used DNA sequences to detect cryptic species of parasites during the last decade. Each literature citation that included the term “cryptic” or “sibling” species was analyzed to determine the approach used by the author(s). Reports were carefully filtered to retain only those that recognized the existence of cryptic species centered on the use of DNA sequences. Based on analysis of these papers, we comment on the different ways that parasite cryptic species are discovered in studies focusing on different aspects of the host–parasite relationship, or disciplines, within parasitology. We found a lack of methodological and theoretical uniformity in the discipline for finding and delimiting cryptic species, and we draw attention to the need for standardizing these approaches. We suggest that cryptic species, in the strict sense, are always provisionally cryptic, in that the possibility does exist that new morphological studies or techniques will reveal previously unknown diagnostic structural differences which will permit rapid and practical morphological diagnosis. To avoid future taxonomic confusion, we recommend that parasitologists describe (and formally name) cryptic species following standard taxonomic practice.

Gerardo Pérez-Ponce de León and Steven A. Nadler "What We Don't Recognize Can Hurt Us: A Plea for Awareness About Cryptic Species," Journal of Parasitology 96(2), (1 April 2010). https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-2260.1
Published: 1 April 2010
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