The characters used in taxonomy to describe new species cannot always be used to identify species in population surveys involving large samples. We used DNA barcoding to validate the taxonomic status of the morphospecies used in an ecological study involving 11 000 individual African drosophilids which had been determined without dissection. Some taxonomic information had been lost by not discriminating between rare species or by mistakenly splitting a morphologically variable species into two groups. However, the original ecological dataset provided a reliable picture of species diversity and the conclusions based on the original dataset are still supported by the molecular data.
Barcode, Drosophila, Zaprionus, Sophophora, Cameroon.