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Taxonomy as the first step towards conservation: an appraisal on the taxonomy of medium- and large-sized Neotropical mammals in the 21st century

Feijó, Anderson; Brandão, Marcus Vinicius.
Zoologia (Curitiba, Impr.); 39: e22007, 2022. tab, graf
Artigo em Inglês | VETINDEX | ID: biblio-1390562


The Anthropocene brought an accelerated risk of extinction for species across the globe. However, extinction proneness is not even across groups. Past and current events show large-sized mammals at greater extinction risk than smaller ones. For practical reasons, conservation actions tend to focus on the species level; therefore, well-founded species limits are pivotal. Since 2005, the number of known mammal species is about 20% higher but largely due to taxonomic discoveries in small-sized taxa. Here we review the recent taxonomic advances on medium- and large-sized mammals (MLM) from the Neotropics, and discuss misperceptions concerning the taxonomy stability in this group and how this may hinder proper conservation actions. We advocate that apparent taxonomic inertia toward large-sized mammals is partly related to limited systematic inquiry rather than representing an accurate knowledge of their diversity. Fortunately, this scenario has slowly changed in recent years. Linked to integrative analyses that took place during the 21st century, the Neotropical region represents a major example of recent growth in MLM diversity. Taxonomic novelties were found in eight orders of MLM and occurred across taxonomic ranks, from family to subspecies. Most changes comprise subspecies or synonyms elevated to full species, but new taxa of Artiodactyla, Carnivora, Lagomorpha, Pilosa, Primates, Perissodactyla, and large rodents have also been discovered. Recent reshuffles in MLM classification clearly illustrate the risk that bias in taxonomy studies can bring to conservation. Considering the new findings, some species previously labeled as "least concern" for conservation, stand now in some level of threat. This appraisal challenges the misperception of MLM as well-known and shows that taxonomy is a conservation issue.(AU)
Biblioteca responsável: BR68.1