lecto- and neotypifications

Sat Feb 22 05:46:13 CST 1997

I echo Tom Lammers's frustration with the difficulty of locating
lecto- and neotypification statements, but his proposal of
indexing all of them presents some practical difficulties.
There have been hundreds of thousands of names proposed since
1753, not only names currently accepted but synonyms as
well. Even a synonym has a type; indeed, a type is necessary
to be able to state conclusively that it is a synonym. Index
Kewensis and its supplements takes up half a shelf in our
library, and any Index Typici would be two or three times as large.
Even if this were done as an electronic database, an enormous
amount of work would be involved. Perhaps this might be
feasible for new typifications done after a certain date,
but as for a retroactive cataloguing, I wish you the best
of luck on getting a grant to do that.
   An alternative would be to limit which typification statements
are validly published. I understand the zoological code
has limitations preventing frivolous typifications, although
I'm unsure of the details. Ideally, typifications should
be done in monographs, but some genera and families have
not been monographed in decades and are not likely to be
monographed any time soon. It becomes necessary to stick
a short note in a journal dealing strictly with typification,
something I have been forced to do three times.
   Another shortcoming of the ICBN on this subject is
that it does not mandate how much information must be
contained in a lectotypification statement. I saw one which
said merely,

"I hereby designate as lectotypes specimens annotated by
my hand at W:"

followed by a list of species. The author did not even
provide the authorities for the species names, much less
any information about the specimens. Is this valid?
I would think that the collector's name and collection
number at the very minimum should be included in a
lectotypification statement, and preferably also the
collection location.

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere, 4717 E First St., Tucson AZ 85711 USA
JosephL at aztec.asu.edu

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