Citation: Sandvik, H. (2006) An inordinate fondness for Mecopteriformia. Systematics and Biodiversity, 4, 381–384.
Key words: Arthropoda, Coleoptera, largest animal taxon, Metazoa, phylogenetic-comparative method, species richness.
Abstract: What is the largest animal taxon? The most famous answer to this question has been given by Haldane who coined the phrase that "the Creator has an inordinate fondness for beetles". Although much cited, this statement has never been tested. Other experts have suggested other candidates for the largest animal taxon, all of which included the beetles as a subordinate group. I here outline a novel phylogenetic-comparative method that can address the question in a testable way. The result of applying the algorithm to the Metazoa is astonishing: the largest animal taxon is neither beetles nor a taxon super- or subordinated to beetles, but the Mecopteriformia.
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