Stuart G. Poss sgposs at SEAHORSE.IMS.USM.EDU
Sat Apr 10 16:51:59 CDT 1999

Rikard Osmundsen wrote:


In zoological collections, it is not uncommon to still find type
materials among specimens in the general collection.  Yes, the entire
animal must be regarded as a syntype and should be so labeled, if in
fact it is a syntype, unless a lectotype for this species has been
designated (see ICZN Article 73(ii), in which case it and any other
syntypes are no longer syntypes, even if the lectotype has been
subsquently lost or destroyed.

However, in making labels it is absolutely critical to establish that
the specimen from which the various parts have been taken are in fact
syntypes.  Also care should be taken to insure that the parts are
appropriately associated with which syntype, if there happens to be more
than one.  Such designations must be made with direct reference to the
"original description" of the species and should be done with the
knowledge, if not the assistance of the curator of the collection.
The curator may regard it in the interest of science to transfer the
specimen to the museum holding the slides.
If the specimen is not one referred to in the "original description", it
is not a syntype.

A look at article 72A (i) and 72A iv (1) of the International Code of
Zoological Nomenclature clearly shows that type slides and hapanotypes
(related individuals representing different parts of the life cycle of a
protozoan, you don't say which invertebrate) are "deemed to be
indivisible", unless a slide or hapanotype is found to contain
individuals of more than one species.  Even in the latter situation they
would still be types if they were used in the original description.
Note that the rules regarding specific designation of types vary
slightly, depending on the year of the orginal publication.  Those of
interest to you predate 1931.

When making such a label it would be best if you explain your actions on
the label and provide the date together with the catalog number of the
specimen and your name, so that there is no future ambiguity attached to
this reference.  An explanation of these actions and your reasoning,
should accompany any redescription of this material in your publication,
so that others can be alerted to the change in type demarcation.
Careful labeling, will also make it possible for someone, in principle
at least, to correct you should you make an error in identifying or
associating the various parts.  For futher details, follow
recommendations under Article 72 concerning designation and marking of

Stuart Poss

> Dear all
> I've been going though some material of marine invertebrates form a museums
> collection. Among the material there I have found speciments listed in a
> description from 1921. The material is not labeled type or syntype. I also
> know that the autor of this description have sectioned some parts of the
> animal, and labeled them syntype.
> The microscope slides is found in another museum.
> My question is:
> 1. Shouldn't the whole animal be considered as and be labeled syntype, when
> slides from it is labeled syntype?
> 2. Can I label the speciment syntype so that it is taken care of as type
> material?
> rikard
> MSc.Stud Rikard Osmundsen, Museum of Natural History and Archaeology,
> Institut of Natural History, 7034 TRONDHEIM, NORWAY       Tel:+47 73596652,
> Fax:+47 73592295
> rikard at or rikardo at

Stuart G. Poss                       E-mail: sgposs at
Senior Research Scientist & Curator  Tel: (228)872-4238
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory       FAX: (228)872-4204
P.O. Box 7000
Ocean Springs, MS  39566-7000

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