VARSEDIG: an algorithm for morphometric characters selection and statistical validation in morphological taxonomy

Zootaxa. 2016 Sep 12;4162(3):571-80. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4162.3.10.


We present and discuss VARSEDIG, an algorithm which identifies the morphometric features that significantly discriminate two taxa and validates the morphological distinctness between them via a Monte-Carlo test. VARSEDIG is freely available as a function of the RWizard application PlotsR ( and as R package on CRAN. The variables selected by VARSEDIG with the overlap method were very similar to those selected by logistic regression and discriminant analysis, but overcomes some shortcomings of these methods. VARSEDIG is, therefore, a good alternative by comparison to current classical classification methods for identifying morphometric features that significantly discriminate a taxon and for validating its morphological distinctness from other taxa. As a demonstration of the potential of VARSEDIG for this purpose, we analyze morphological discrimination among some species of the Neotropical freshwater family Characidae.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Anatomy, Comparative*
  • Animals
  • Biometry / methods*
  • Characidae / anatomy & histology
  • Characidae / classification
  • Classification / methods*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Software