How many synonyms?

Joseph E. Laferriere joseph at IRIS.CEAMISH.UAEM.MX
Wed Jun 11 08:23:04 CDT 1997

> At 10:04 AM 06-06-97 -0700, Finn N. Rasmussen wrote:

> >Another question:
> >how many synonyms are supposed to exist for every currently used
> >name? Has anybody ever tried an estimate?
> >- Thank you in advance,  Finn

I have no doubt that it varies greatly depending on the group. I did one
study a few years ago of a small Australian/New Guinean family. Only two
currently recognized species, but both highly variable in their
morphology. Each had at least twenty validly published synonyms. This
high number was partly due to the fact that the last person to work on
the group created ten infraspecific names in each species, taxa never
recognized by anyone except him. Nonrecognized names cannot be ignored,
as they do exist and have standing under the ICBN. They must be included
in any estimate you make on this subject.

Joe Laferriere
Herbario HUMO
Cuernavaca, Mexico

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