TAXACOM Digest - 4 Dec 1996 to 5 Dec 1996

Fri Dec 6 07:48:24 CST 1996

To answer the question of what to call a species not yet
formally described, the technical answer would be

Organismus hypotheticus sp. nov. ined.

where the "ined." stands for "inedito," i.e. "unpublished."
Of course, this will be lost on nonspecialists. At the level
you were asking, for wildlife managers interested in conservation
or agronomists working on biological control agents, such
distinctions as whether a name has been formally published or
not is likely to be seen as irrelevant. As I see it, the
only problem with going ahead and using the name would be if
the person publishing the description were to change his/her
mind as to what to call the thing.
   I am not familiar with zoological or microbiological
rules, but in botany even using the name in print would not
affect priority. Unless you include a Latin description and
a type designation the name would not be valid, and hence
you would not be interfering with the priority of the
formal description published later. You would be using it
as a nomen nudum.
   In my opinion using the name as a nomen nudum before
it is published would be less confusing to nonsystematists
than calling it "Organismus undescribed species #42" and
then telling people later that it has now been named
"Organismus hypotheticus." Again, this is subject to the
proviso that the nomen does eventually get denudumized
under the same name.

Joseph E. Laferriere
Tucson, Arizona, USA
JosephL at

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