Paul L.Th. Beuk beuk at BIO.UVA.NL
Mon Dec 18 11:44:19 CST 1995

Don Colless wrote (18.xii.1995):

>that all specimens that were described when erecting the species (apart from
>the holotype) are paratypes, whether so designated or not. Indeed, I (like
>others) nowadays make no mention of paratypes, since they are covered by the
>"Specimens Examined" list.
>   However, there is an out for specimens of doubtful identity that the author
>may want to discuss: simply, specifically deny them paratype status in the
>formal description, preferably in the "Specimens Examined" section.

There is the widely held misconception that all material mentioned in a
description (besides the holotype) automatically become paratypes. Agreed,
the ICZN Article 72b(v) suggests as much by stating:

'If an author in establishing a nominal species-group taxon designates a
holotype [Art. 73(a)], then the other specimens of the type series become
paratypes; the latter do not become syntypes and are not available for
lectotype selection [Art. 74] if the holotype is lost or destroyed.'

But it then, of course, comes back to what constitutes the type series. The
answer is given in Article 72b(vi) [the next paragraph!]:

'If an author in establishing a nominal species-group taxon nominates
syntypes (or "cotypes" or "types"), or a holotype and paratypes (including
allotype) ("type and cotypes"), and also lists other specimens, the
separate mention of the latter expressly excludes them from the type

If one excludes the holotype from the "Specimens Examined" section, then
(in my interpretation) all other material is excluded from the type series
and is only granted paratype status if clearly stated.

So when you list specimens in a section "Other material examined" you do
not have to specifically indicate that these specimens have no paratype
status. You can indicate paratype status by specifically mentioning that
status for specimens or by including them in a section "Type material" that
lists the holotype and those paratypes.

Paul Beuk

Zoological Museum
Department of Entomology
Plantage Middenlaan 64
NL-1018 DH Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 20 5256527
Fax: + 31 20 5256528
E-mail: beuk at

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