Patterns of taxonomic diversity among terrestrial isopods
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The publication of the world catalog of terrestrial isopods some ten years ago by Schmalfuss has facilitated research on isopod diversity patterns at a global scale. Furthermore, even though we still lack a comprehensive and robust phylogeny of Oniscidea, we do have some useful approaches to phylogenetic relationships among major clades which can offer additional insights into isopod evolutionary dynamics. Taxonomic diversity is one of many approaches to biodiversity and, despite its sensitiveness to biases in taxonomic practice, has proved useful in exploring diversification dynamics of various taxa. In the present work, we attempt an analysis of taxonomic diversity patterns among Oniscidea based on an updated world list of species containing 3,710 species belonging to 527 genera and 37 families (data till April 2014). The analysis explores species diversity at the genus and family level, as well as the relationships between species per genera, species per families, and genera per families. In addition, we consider the structure of isopod taxonomic system under the fractal perspective that has been proposed as a measure of a taxon’s diversification. Finally, we check whether there is any phylogenetic signal behind taxonomic diversity patterns. The results can be useful in a more detailed elaboration of Oniscidea systematics. © Spyros Sfenthourakis & Stefano Taiti.