Deposit of type material

Norman F. Johnson nfjohnso at POSTBOX.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Thu Aug 10 08:26:15 CDT 1995

Jorge Soberon asked for comments on this statement:

>"In the case that the material collected in Mexico is used to describe
>new species, it will be necessary for the foreign scientist to deposit
>part of the type material in a Mexican collection with an infrastructure
>that guarantees its preservation and maintenance"

First, I hope everyone notices that we are specifically discussing the
country of Mexico. Hence, derogatory comments about some unnamed country
will only send us back to the name-calling and finger-pointing that
accompanied this same topic a few weeks ago.

Second, note that the requirement is only for deposition of "part of the
type material." I interpret this to mean that, if the investigator so
desired, paratype(s) would be sufficient. In my opinion this is entirely
reasonable, and I would have no qualms if it were extended to say that if
the holotype is designated from said material, it too is to be deposited in
a Mexican institution.

It seems to me that the important point of such regulations is to ensure
that some authoritatively identified specimens of species X be deposited
in-country. I view primary types to be of very restricted nomenclatural
value, most certainly not to be used for purposes of everyday
identification. If all countries adopt regulations requiring deposition of
holotypes in a national institution, then this means that the present-day
"type rich" collections are just about as rich as they'll ever be. Maybe
then, we can evaluate the quality and value of collections on the basis of
the uses (scientific and otherwise) to which their holdings may be put,
rather than on a mere head count of types.

Norm Johnson
Norman F. Johnson          Phone: 614-292-6595
Associate Professor        Fax: 614-292-7774
Director, Ohio State       E-mail: Johnson.2 at
  Insect Collection

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