incertae sedis and homonymy (just checking)

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Mon Nov 25 22:00:34 CST 1996

Alan: Not being an expert on the ICZN, I may be missing something,
but, from what you write, it would seem that, in 1978, _Anapagurus
marginatus_ Muller (1978) was a primary junior homonym of _Anapagurus
marginatus_ Milne Edwards & Bouvier (1893) (Art. 57 (b)).  In which
case, _Anapagurus marginatus_ Milne Edwards & Buvier is "invalid"
("not accepted" under the BioCode; "incorrect" under the ICBN).  Under
Art. 52 (b), "among species-group names one that is a primary homonym
is permanently invalid" ("unacceptable" under the BioCode, and almost
the same as "illegitimate" under the ICBN).  The actions of
Garcia-Gomez in 1994 seem, therefore, to be irrelevant.  Milne Edwards
and Buvier's name is "permanently invalid".  John

From: John McNeill, Director, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park,
      Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
      Tel.: 416-586-5639      Fax: 416-586-8044
      e-mail: johnm at



This is a straight nomenclatural question. Muller (1978) described the
fossil hermit crab Anapagurus marginatus. However (1), this name was
already used for an extant species by A. Milne Edwards and Bouvier (1893).
However (2), Garcia-Gomez (1994) decided that ME&B's taxon was not an
Anapagurus, but didn't know what it was, and considered it a species
incertae sedis. My impression is that A. marginatus Muller is a homonym of
A. marginatus Milne Edwards and Bouvier, but I can't find any direct
reference to this kind of situation in the Code. The Principle of Homonymy
prevents a name that is either a valid name or a junior synonym of another
name from being used as a valid name, but the incertae sedis category, at
least in this case, seems to be a temporary transitional state between
valid name and junior synonym. Homonymy would certainly apply, wouldn't it?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.




Alan W. Harvey (aharvey at
Assistant Curator of Invertebrates
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 769-5638; fax (212) 769-5783

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