Project 3789: S. Klopfstein, T. Spasojevic. 2019. Illustrating phylogenetic placement of fossils using RoguePlots: An example from ichneumonid parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) and an extensive morphological matrix. PLOS ONE. 14 (4):e0212942.
Specimen: † Ichninsum appendicrassum (UCM:39378)
View: drawing


The fossil record constitutes the primary source of information about the evolutionary history of extant and extinct groups, and many analyses of macroevolution rely on fossils that are accurately placed within phylogenies. To avoid misinterpretation of the fossil record, especially by non-palaeontologists, the proper assessment and communication of uncertainty in fossil placement is crucial. We here use Bayesian morphological phylogenetics to evaluate the classifications of fossil parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) and introduce ‘RoguePlots’ to illustrate placement uncertainty on the phylogeny of extant taxa. Based on an extensive, newly constructed morphological matrix of 222 characters in 24 fossil and 103 extant taxa, we test three different aspects of models of morphological evolution. We find that a model that includes ordered characters, among-character rate variation, and a state-space restricted to observed states achieves the highest marginal likelihoods. The individual RoguePlots reveal large differences in confidence in the placement of the different fossils and allow some refinements to their classification: Polyhelictes bipolarus and Ichninsum appendicrassum are moved from an uncertain subfamily placement to Pimplinae, Plectiscidea lanhami is transferred to Allomacrus in Cylloceriinae (Allomacrus lanhami, comb. nov.), Lithotorus cressoni is moved from Diplazontinae to Orthocentrinae, and we note uncertainty in the generic placements of Rhyssella? vera and Xanthopimpla? messelensis. We discuss potential artefacts that might result in biased posterior probabilities in Bayesian morphological phylogenetic analyses, pertaining to character and taxon sampling, fossilization biases, and model misspecification. Finally, we suggest future directions both in ichneumonid palaeontology and in the way RoguePlots can improve both assessment and representation of placement uncertainty, both in fossils and other rogue taxa.

Read the article »

Article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212942

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3789,
This project contains
  • 1 Media
  • 2 Documents
  • 2 Taxa
  • 1 Specimen
Total size of project's media files: 232.96k

Download Project SDD File
Currently Viewing:
MorphoBank Project 3789
  • Creation Date:
    21 August 2020
  • Publication Date:
    26 August 2020
  • Project views: 2376

    Authors' Institutions

    • Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (Natural History Museum Basel)

    • Universtitaet Bern

    • Naturhistorisches Museum Bern


    member name taxa specimens media
    MorphoBank Curator
    Project Administrator
    Seraina Klopfstein
    Full membership

    Project has no matrices defined.

    Project views

    type number of views Individual items viewed (where applicable)
    Total project views2376
    Project overview303
    Media views723Media search (618 views); M693396 (105 views);
    Documents list194
    Taxon list445
    Specimen list364
    Views for media list212

    Project downloads

    type number of downloads Individual items downloaded (where applicable)
    Total downloads from project72
    Project downloads69
    Document downloads3Data matrix in NEX format, no character labels or states (2 downloads); Character descriptions in DOCX (1 download);