Comments on ICZN 4th Draft

Wolfgang Wuster bss166 at BANGOR.AC.UK
Fri Aug 11 09:30:37 CDT 1995

On Thu, 10 Aug 1995, Robin Leech wrote:

> 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 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.
>     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
>     Z.R.

I disagree with this. I am pretty sure that any new names published in
Medical Journals are very likely to be picked up by the ZR. The "ZR-rule"
is aimed at preventing names published in entirely obscure "journals" or
Bulletins with a circulation of about 10 from later destabilising the
nomenclature. I have no idea how much of a problem this is in medical
entomology, but in my field (herpetology), it is a BIG problem.

Many amateurs feel that they have a new species in front of them, and
publish the name in extraordinarily obscure bulletins, which other workers
will be hard-pushed to find. Examples which spring to mind are species of
venomous snakes described in leaflets handed out at Zoos in Thailand,
Bulletins of Ecuadorian universities, aquarium magazines, etc.

Determining whether such publications constitute valid publications under
the terms of the Code can be difficult, and very often information is
simply not available and enquiries remain without response. The 5-year
rule provides a more objective way of determining validity. I agree that
in many cases, such publications will be known to other workers, and in
such cases these other workers should send copies to the ZR. However, a
5-year rule will avoid such publications being discovered after, say, 15
years (too recent to be sunk under normal Code provisions) and then being
used to destabilise the nomenclature.

No system is perfect, but in my experience, some system of checks against
such extremely obscure references is needed in the Code. Personally, I
feel that the requirements do not go anywhere near far enough.

Dr. Wolfgang Wuster  -  Research Fellow
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Wales, UK                        it is probably a train coming your way."

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