ICZN 4 - "prevailing use" and "use"

Wolfgang Lorenz Faunaplan at AOL.COM
Mon Aug 20 07:33:05 CDT 2001

Dear Mr. Thompson and List,
... coming back to the other ICZN question ...
but first of all: many thanks for all your helpful comments!

The new mitigations in Code 4 will certainly have stabilizing effects because
of automatic suppression of old and "forgotten" spellings or substitute
names. On the other hand, how to avoid undesirable side effects of the new
The ICZN Glossary definition of  "prevailing usage" does not distinguish
between monographs, catalogues, simple faunistic notes, etc. There are
numerous cases (at least in Coleoptera) where recent revisions and elaborated
catalogues - under strict adherence to previous editions of the Code - have
returned to the original spellings of names, while in the (substantial)
majority of papers, faunistic notes, etc., traditional incorrect spellings
are still in use, e.g.:
numerous names ending in -i instead of the original -ii,
Elaphropus haemorroidalis or haemorrhoidalis, instead of the original E.
Carabus clathratus instead of the original C. clatratus,
Cicindela silvestris instead of the original C. sylvestris,
Carabus ullrichi or ulrichi instead of the original C. ulrichii,
Polystichus instead of the original Polistichus,

So what to do? Do we need statistics of ALL recent citations in literature
(without having up-to-date catalogues this is next to impossible for most of
the invertebrate groups...) and turn back the wheel in thousands of  cases?
"Prevailing use" is in flux, - wait ten years and you may have another
prevailing use, so turn the wheel again and again??? Isn't it better to put
more weight on recent catalogues and monographs, since names used in such
papers tend to have more chances to get into prevailing use, sooner or later?

A similar problem with ANY use: A substitute name is invalid by the
provisions of Art. 59.3 as long as it is not in use. So ANY future use of the
substitute name would turn the wheel?
Isn't it better to say something like "a junior secondary homonym replaced
before 1961 'AND NOT IN USE BEFORE 1.1.2000' ... is permanently invalid"?

Best regards,
Wolfgang Lorenz

More information about the Taxacom mailing list