New synonymy or not?

Derek Sikes dss95002 at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU
Wed Dec 5 11:54:44 CST 2001

Dear (Zoological) taxonomists,

I've polled a few people about this and there is tentative agreement but I
wanted to bounce it off the rest of you-

When a junior synonym is moved from one senior synonym to another senior
synonym, but remains a junior synonym, is that action considered a 'New
synonymy"? (I think it is)

- it seems to be a New synonym from the perspective of the senior synonym,
i.e. The senior is getting a new synonym added to it, but it is not a new
synonym for the group in general, i.e. the group has the same number of
junior synonyms as it had before.

It is not 'New status' because the status of the junior synonym has not
changed- it is still a junior synonym.  Thoughts?

My preliminary conclusions indicate that the terminology of our system of
'flagging' changes fails to distinguish these two types of synonymies -
which can lead to the following confusions:

A group with 75 species & a publication that declares '10 new synonymies are
made' - how many species are left in the group??

Some might say 65 are left, but what if all 10 of these 'new synonymies' are
simple movements of junior synonyms to new seniors? In which case there
would still be 75 species....

Derek Sikes
Dept. of Ecology and Evol. Biology U-43
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269  USA

FAX: 860-486-6364

dss95002 at

"Remember that Truth alone is the matter you are in Search after; and if you
have been mistaken, let no Vanity reduce you to persist in your mistake."
Henry Baker, London, 1785

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