chapter  13
20 Pages

Insect Biodiversity and Industrialising the Taxonomic Process: The Plant Bug Case Study (Insecta: Heteroptera: Miridae)

Insects are the most diverse higher taxon of organisms, comprising more than half of all described species. The rate and scale of species extinction and ecosystem degradation, the so called biodiversity crisis, demands an urgent response by the taxonomic community to comprehensively document global organismal diversity. For ‘megadiverse families’ within insects, the establishment of predictive classifications that are global in scope and the description of ‘all species’ are hampered by the scale of the task. To answer this challenge, we support previous calls for industrialising the taxonomic process, involving astronomy-like international collaboration, infrastructural investment, capacity building and taking full advantage of information technology developments. We strongly argue that this unitary approach can be implemented without compromising the hypothesis-driven nature of taxonomic science. The plant bug family Miridae is presented as a case study of this approach.