Lectotype rule-change explained

Mick Webb mew at NHM.AC.UK
Fri Jan 26 10:35:32 CST 2001

Dear all,

I have had a meeting with Philip Tubbs (ICZN) this morning about the change
in the new Code with respect to lectotype designations.

Article 74.7.3 states: designations to be valid must 'contain an express
statement of the
taxonomic purpose of the designation'.

Due to the concerns of many, Philip is going to
publish something on this issue, in the near future. It
seems that things are not what many had thought. In fact, the intention of
the change was to deter designations from being made simply as curatorial
tidying-up. My own view is then, that in order to follow the 'spirit' of
the Code we should NOT just repeat a favourite statement after each
designation to satisfy the rule (as some have suggested). Rather, we should
ask the question: is the identity of this taxon in doubt (if the syntype
is retained as the name-bearing type)? If not, don't designate. For
most of us we will be treating the species in a revision and
its identity will be taken from that work. So, in most cases we can continue
with a syntype or syntypic series as the name bearing type. Where there is
a REAL taxonomic (not nomenclatorial) reason for designating a lectotype
e.g. a mixed type series, then we should do so, and give the reason. In other
words, when a problem arises, then we designate, rather than pre-empting a
hypothetical possibility of a problem in the future.

If you would like YOUR views taken into account in the forthcoming
and have not already done so, please send a message to Philip Tubbs at
ICZN at nhm.ac.uk

I hope this helps!

Please pass this message on to any one who you think might be interested.

Kind regards,

Mr M.D. Webb,
Department of Entomology
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road,
London SW7 5BD
e-mail: M.Webb at nhm.ac.uk or mew@
telephone: 0207 942 5736
fax: 0207 942 5229

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