New synonymy or not?

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Wed Dec 5 12:28:02 CST 2001

Interesting point, Derek:

For pragmatic reasons, I would agree that these changes should be marked in
a publication as NEW SYNONYMs simply because to make them as NEW STATUS may
confuse the indexers at the Zoological Record, etc.

But you are right: from an accounting point of view, the math doesn't work.
 The same is true, however, if you used  NEW STATUS as that is also used to
indicate elevation of a subspecies to a species.

So, I think one needs to be clearer in their abstract: "Genus X was
revised; 99 new synonyms were made, 99 new status were noted, etc., and now
it includes 99 species"

>>> Derek Sikes <dss95002 at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU> 12/05 11:54 AM >>>
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
made' - how many species are left in the group??

Some might say 65 are left, but what if all 10 of these 'new synonymies'
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
have been mistaken, let no Vanity reduce you to persist in your mistake."
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