describing new spp in tabular form

Fortuner fortuner at WANADOO.FR
Tue Jan 6 06:13:24 CST 1998

Mike Dallwitz writes that "The purpose best served by a written
description is to paint a word picture of a taxon, so that the reader
can get a feel for the taxon."

I quite agree with that, but then Lyn Craven, also from CSIRO, says that
"A better format is to use code, specifically the DELTA coding (and
preferably a precis of that) with the character list also given in the

I seriously doubt that reading a string of delta codes (even with the
list of characters available) would give "a feel for the taxon".

Going back to the original question (is it OK to give descriptions in
the form of a table), this is standard practice in nematology.  Nematode
descriptions are often given as both text (for qualitative characters)
and table (for measurements).  This gives a good feel for the taxon
(based on qualitative characters), and save space and repetition for the

Renaud Fortuner
4, rue des Jardins, 17130 Montendre, France
Tel: (33-0) 5 46 70 36 52
Fax: (33-0) 5 46 70 36 59
E-mail: fortuner at

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