Lectotype rule change

Sérvio Túlio Pires Amarante serviopa at USP.BR
Wed Jan 17 21:31:08 CST 2001

I think that the ICZN article is a nonsense and does not prevent errors or
preserve the nomenclature. So, if one states something like "This specimen
is here designated lectotype so as to fix and stabilize the current concept
of the name and has been so labeled", the lectotype designation will be
valid. If not, it will be invalid. The inclusion of this statement is
excessive and useless. Also, I think that this discussion topic should be
stressed and forwarded to the next meeting of the ICZN.

I think that when designating a lectotype one must clearly indicate which
specimen has been chosen and, not always necessarily, why. To illustrate
this, I have personal experience to share. Sometime ago I discovered a
lectotype of one species (a type species of a genus) described by one of the
first entomologists around 1800, which was mislabeled by someone after the
lectotype designation. I found it reading a paper on a study of types, where
the specimen that was chose as lectotype is clearly pointed. In this paper,
the author gave all information available on the specimen, as the collection
housing it, the label data, and in what it differs from the paralectotypes
and their data. It happens to be that the lectotypes belong to another
species, described around 1840, but has the same label data mentioned in the
original description of the 1800's species. The worker that designated the
lectotype was aware that the specimen he was choosing was not one of those
mentioned in the original description, but it belonged to a species that has
been regarded for some 150 years as the species originally described. He
made what I repute the best decision, to preserve the information and
tradition instead to make a change that could lead to many other
nomenclatural changes that could produce a huge mess. However, someone after
that, certainly after reading only the original description, concluded that
the lectotype label was attached to the wrong creature and "fixed the
mistake", attaching the label to one of the paralectotypes, which you
already know to belong to a different species. Can you imagine the
consequences of this...

I think that a statement like as: "Lectotype male: "Moon, Copernicus Crater,
May 1670, Cyranus leg."
here designated" is well enough and this should be obligatory.  If the
worker has a story to tell or explain why he has chosen that particular one
instead the another thing, so, do it. I always do, to be sure that if
someone change my labels...

Sérvio Túlio Pires Amarante

serviopa at usp.br

Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Caixa Postal 42694-970
São Paulo

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