Stages in Taxonomy

It is now well-known that taxonomy of a given group passes through several stages. These stages are referred to as alpha (analytical phase), beta (synthetic phase), and gamma (biological phase) taxonomy. Alpha taxonomy is the level at which the species are characterised and named; beta taxonomy refers to the arrangement of the species into a natural system of lower and higher categories; and gamma taxonomy is the analysis of intraspecific variations and evolutionary studies, i.e., study of speciation. But in actual practice it is rather difficult to dissociate them because these overlap and intergrade. These are only a few groups of animals (some vertebrates, especially the birds, and a few insect orders like Lepidoptera) where the taxonomy has reached up to gamma level otherwise in almost majority of the groups the works are still at alpha and beta levels.

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