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The importance of adopting an integrative taxonomy framework in species delimitation: Response to Hunter et al. (2021)

Tshifhiwa G. Mandiwana-Neudan
Timothy M. Crowe
Robin M. Little
Rauri C.K. Bowie


The review by Hunter et al. (2021) on the delineation of certain francolin and spurfowl taxa as full species by Mandiwana-Neudani et al. (2019a, 2019b) appears to be largely orientated around their application of the Biological Species Concept (BSC). We employed an integrative taxonomy framework, evaluating morphological characters from across each species distribution range and integrate these data with analyses of vocal and molecular characters. We consider an integrative taxonomic framework, where consilience is sought among characters, as a more appropriate framework to adopt, given the limitations of the BSC and the need for a more effective way to
discover fundamental units of comparative biology and conservation action. We thank the authors of Hunter et al. (2021) for their support of many aspects of our findings and for raising their concerns, which we trust that we have suitably addressed in this response.

Keywords: consilience species concept, francolins, integrative taxonomy, spurfowls, taxonomic decisions

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525