Comments on ICZN 4th Draft

Robin Leech robinl at NAIT.AB.CA
Thu Aug 10 09:15:58 CDT 1995

Dear Fellow Taxacomers,

The following message was sent to the COMMISSION as comments on the Draft
of the 4th edition of the ICZN.  PKT of the COMMISSION encouraged me to
send this to TAXACOM in order to stimulate discussion.

Robin Leech

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 12:52:58 -0600 (MDT)
From: Robin Leech <robinl at>
To: pkt at
Subject: Re: Comments on the Draft ICZN

7 August 1995                   File:ICZN7Au.95

The International Commission
        on Zoological Nomenclature
c/o The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD


I have reviewed the "Discussion Draft of the Proposed Fourth Edition" of

1.  Throughout the text, for "i.e." and "e.g." read "i.e.," and "e.g.,".
    At present, application without the comma is inconsistently applied.
    For example, p.17, Article 58(2-14) has "i.e.," and "e.g.,", whereas
    Article 58(1) has "i.e.".

    Reasoning: if we use a comma for "That is, I suggest...", and "For
    example, these are...", then we should use a comma for the Latin

2.  On page 2 of the Explanatory Notes, I(a)(v), new names must be
    recorded as such in the ZOOLOGICAL RECORD within 5 years of
    publication, and Article 8(e) and Article 11(b) on the same topic.

    I strongly disagree with this rule/law/article.  A name validly
    published is valid forever, unless it is subsequently declared a
    junior synonym, a homonym, or is suppressed for nomenclatorial

    I offer the following in defense of my opinion.

    Suppose in 1996 (later in the year when the ICZN is in effect), I
    publish a new genus name, XUS, with two new species names, XUS AYUS
    and XUS BEUS.  Because of the medical importance of these two
    species, my two new species names are "snapped up" immediately by
    the medical profession, and the two new species are even given
    common names: the Ayus Tick and the Beus Tick.

    For several reasons, but mainly because I published in a medical
    journal, the staff of the ZOOLOGICAL RECORD did not see my new
    genus and species names during the "5-year" period.

    In the year 2002, a taxonomic revision of ticks of medical importance
    is published by another author who had known about my 1996 paper in
    the medical journal, and XUS, XUS AYUS, and XUS BEUS are cited in
    his revision.  When the author submitted his taxonomic revision for
    publication, it was reviewed by 2 reviewers, each of whom knew
    about my 1996 paper, and who had themselves used my names in their
    own papers.  Each reviewer found that the names in my 1996 paper
    were validly published, and so did not search in the ZOOLOGICAL
    RECORD to confirm that my names had been "picked up" by Z.R.  In
    the taxonomic revision of 2002, my names are cited as XUS Leech,
    1996, XUS AYUS Leech, 1996, and XUS BEUS Leech, 1996.  Thus, my
    names appeared first in 1996 validly, and are now well entrenched
    in the literature, both through medical/public use and a taxonomic
    revision of the group.

    If the situation mentioned above had to be unscrambled, merely
    because of the installation of an arbitrary "5-year law", it would
    cause chaos.

    In January 1971, I read that Article 23(b) of the 2nd ICZN had been
    repealed.  This was the so-called "50-year law".  I mentioned this
    to an entomological scientist  He was crushed.  He had prepared 6
    manuscripts for publication and was waiting for April 1971.  At that
    time, he would submit those papers for publication.  This scientist
    worked on organisms that are little worked on, and the 50-year-old
    names had been carried during those 50 years only in abstracting and
    bibliographic works.

    My point is that arbitrary rules such as the 5-year law and the 50-year
    law promote laziness, opportunism and dishonesty.  I know that we are
    all honest, and that we have no crosses to bear, but....

    It is nice to be able to have one source to go to for new names, the
    ZOOLOGICAL RECORD, but I feel that the problems caused by installing
    the 5-year law are greater than the possible junior synonyms and
    homonymy problems that might arise if the 5-year law is not
    installed.  Most authors know the other workers in their fields, and
    usually get reprints from them, so they are aware of names that have
    been validly published in their study areas - even before they go to

3.  Whether you agree or not with my opinion on the 5-year law, I feel
    that a recommendation should be made for Article 8 as follows:

    It is the responsibility of author(s) to ensure that a copy (reprint,
    separate or photocopy) of a publication containing the names of a new
    taxon, or new taxa, be sent to the Commission, by registered mail if

4.  Page 9, Article 28, Recommendation 28B, Example, line 5: for might,
    read can.

    I believe that you will find that the mosquito-ologists already use
    ONLY the two-letter abbreviations such as AE. for AEDES, and AN. for

5.  Page 15, Article 50(a), line 2: where it read (Art. 8), read (Art. 8,
    Art. 11).

I trust tht you will examine and consider the comments above in the
positive, constructive manner in which they are offered.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Leech

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