Naming taxon after self (was: Valid description?)

Wolfgang Wuster w.wuster at BANGOR.AC.UK
Fri Nov 8 17:59:39 CST 1996

On Fri, 8 Nov 1996, Jacques Melot wrote:

> >If the name IS valid, who is the author?  Clearly Chasain did not publish
> >the name, but if the author of the paper is the author of the name, it
> >becomes A. chalumeaui Chalumeau.
> Merveilleux! Enfin LA combinaison narcissique dans toute son horreur! Je
> savais qu'on finirai par en trouver une! <<Malheureusement>> elle semble
> invalide par manque de diagnose (violation de l'Art. 13a(i) du Code
> zool.)).

There is at least one valid example: the snake Bungarus walli Wall, 1907.

The excuse makes great reading:

"Since this [capture of type] I have obtained 8 of the same species, and
though I believe it a breach of ethics for any naturalist to call a
species after himself, the fact that this is the first new snake I have
discovered in 11 1/2 years' hard collecting, may be pleaded as sufficient
excuse for commemorating the event and attaching my own name to it."

In defence of Wall, I would like to add that he was one of the great
herpetologists of the turn of the century, and much of our knowledge on
the snakes of India and neighbouring countries is still based on his
work, to this day.

> Maintenant, le defi a relever -- le nec plus ultra -- est de
> trouver un nom sur le modele de Dupont duponti Dupont

Now that would be a challenge - any contenders?

Wolfgang Wuster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK
e-mail: w.wuster at

Thought for the day: If you see a light at the end of the tunnel,
it is probably a train coming your way.

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