Systematics and evolution of ticks with a list of valid genus and species names
In recent years there has been much progress in our understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of ticks, in particular the hard ticks (Ixodidae). Indeed, a consensus about the phylogeny of the hard ticks has emerged which is quite different to the working hypothesis of 10 years ago. So that the classification reflects our knowledge of ticks, several changes to the nomenclature of ticks are imminent or have been made. One subfamily, the Hyalomminae, should be sunk, while another, the Bothriocrotoninae, has been created (Klompen, Dobson & Barker, 2002). Bothriocrotoninae, and its sole genus Bothriocroton, have been created to house an early-diverging (‘basal’) lineage of endemic Australian ticks that used to be in the genus Aponomma. The remaining species of the genus Aponomma have been moved to the genus Amblyomma. Thus, the name Aponomma is no longer a valid genus name. The genus Rhipicephalus is paraphyletic with respect to the genus Boophilus. Thus, the genus Boophilus has become a subgenus of the genus Rhipicephalus (Murrell & Barker, 2003). Knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships of ticks has also provided new insights into the evolution of ornateness and of their life cycles, and has allowed the historical zoogeography of ticks to be studied. Finally, we present a list of the 899 valid genus and species names of ticks as of February 2004.
Key Words: Ixodida; ticks; phylogeny; evolution; nomenclature.
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