infraspecific validity

Joe Laferriere josephl at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Mon Jan 8 13:44:37 CST 1996

> > Date:    Fri, 5 Jan 1996 12:38:24 -0800
> > From:    Curtis Clark <jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU>
> > Subject: Re: Infraspecific author citations
> >
>>  Let's say you are naming a new subsp. of Ivieia
> > neocalifornica Ross (which has conveniently become a plant for this
> > example), and you will call it subsp. arizonica.  Your publication would say
> >
> > Ivieia neocalifornica subsp. arizonica Laferriere, subsp. nov.
> >
> > But let's say that there is also Ivieia neocalifornica Clark, a different
> > plant. Regardless of which Ivieia neocalifornica is valid and which is a
> > later homonym, from the facts presented so far a reader in the future could
> > not clearly determine which Ivieia you were naming a subspecies of.  Since
> > in one case, your name would be invalid, this becomes important both
> > taxonomically and nomeclaturally.
> >
> > "But," you might well say, "most reputable journals require the author
> > citation for every binomial that appears in the paper."  Fine.  So why can't
> > it be as part of the publication of the new name?  Bibliographically, the
> > author of the species belongs in the paper.  Is there any logic to keeping
> > it out of the actual protologue?

There is a difference between "invalid" names and "illegitimate" ones.
The first two words of an infraspecific name must correspond to a valid
specific name, but do not necessarily have to be a legitimate name. A
valid name is one which has been published with a description (in Latin
if after 1935) plus a type designation (if after the date that rule went
into effect; I think it was 1958). A name can can thus be valid but still
be an illegitimate homonym or synonym. Thus the "arizonica" epithet you
cite above would still be valid and have priority status. If your
examination of types indicates that it does not belong to the legitimate
Ivieia neocalifornica, you could still use the epithet  as

Ivieia laferrierei subsp. arizonica (Laferr.) C. Clark,

provided you have already published I. laferrierei as a valid species name.

P.S. I beg you: please, never, ever, name a species after me. I have
enough problems with people misspelling the thing, and I have pity on a
poor plant saddled with a name like that.

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