Bad Examples

Murray Fletcher fletchm at AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU
Thu Oct 12 12:50:03 CDT 1995

On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Judith E. Winston wrote:

> The thread on keys has been most entertaining.  I have another
> request for bad examples ---I'd like to be able to give
> students some really outrageously bad examples of species
> description, as for example when someone described the
> pedicellaria of an echinoid as a new hydroid species.  Now my
> colleagues can call tell me of bad examples in their field, but
> I don't want to use any that impugn the reputations of the
> living.  I'd rather use published examples from the past?  Can
> you think of any such "good" bad examples?  Thanks, Judy Winston
> --
> Judith E. Winston, Ph.D.             e-mail: jwinston at
> Director of Research                      Ph:   540-666-8653
> Virginia Museum of Natural History        Fax:  540-632-6487
> 1001 Douglas Ave., Martinsville, VA 24112

Four species of Sephena (Insecta: Hemiptera: Flatidae) were described by
G.W. Kirkaldy in 1906 as new taxa on the same page (Kirkaldy 1906, Bull.
Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association Div. Ent. p457). The first, rubida
sp nov. was given five lines on the coloration followed by "General
form of Paratella umbrimargo". A brief note followed with the information
that this and the following have more the appearance of Paratella than

The second was hyacintha sp. nov which had just over two lines of coloration
description. The third was cinerea sp. nov. The entire description of
cinerea is "Smaller and narrower than S. rubida, vertex narrower. Pale
brownish cinereous, immaculate. Eyes reddish."

The fourth was argus sp. nov. The first line reads "form and size of the
preceding" and is followed by three lines of coloration description.

This was OK for Kirkaldy, but identification of these was dependent on
your having the same four species in front of you that Kirkaldy had, so you
could use the same comparisons that Kirkaldy made.

Fortunately John Medler at the Bishop Museum has sorted out the
identities of these four species quite satisfactorily. None is now in

Murray Fletcher
fletchm at

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