what do we call it until it gets a name?

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Fri Dec 6 10:49:27 CST 1996

At 7:48 AM 12/6/96, JOSEPH E. LAFERRIERE wrote:
>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 stands for "inedito," i.e. "unpublished."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.

As a non-specialist, I have to agree with this statement, but not the
recommendation to continue this type of citation.  In Zoology, this custom
is not followed - unpublished names are cited in formal publications
typically only by mistake.  I was caught in the botanical problem myself
when I was describing some mites obtained from a colleague who had the host
plants identified by "specialists."  When I tried to verify the plant names
using standard sources, one name kept coming up a blank.  It turned out
that the name had never been published, although the other entomologists
working on the ecological system had been happily using it in publications.
Joe is right, the "ined." tends to get lost somewhere along the line, so I
recommend not using what appears to be a species name in print unless it is
validly published.

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (313) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (313) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at umich.edu
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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