Lectotype rule-change explained

John Noyes jsn at NHM.AC.UK
Fri Jan 26 11:49:31 CST 2001


I think what you are poposing is completely wrong. It is equivalent to
describing a new species and not designating a primary type. We designate
primary types to try to ensure stability of usage of a name. The same goes
for designation of lectotypes. This is most certainly NOT achieved by
having more than one specimen as the primary type as is the case with a
syntypic series of more than one specimen (except perhaps in the case of
isofemale lines, but I would still prefer one specimen as the name bearing
type). Of course we should not designate lectotypes as part of a curatorial
excercise (where the designator may have no taxonomic knowledge at all of
the group in question) but if we are revising a group or undertaking an
authoritative taxonomic study then it would be beneficial to designate
lectotypes to ensure the future stability of usage of a name. Surely that
is what primary type designation is all about. To do so after a problem
arises (as you seem to suggest) is too late because the damage has already
been done.


At 10:35 AM 1/26/2001 +0000, you wrote:
>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

John S. Noyes, Entomology Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell
Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD, UK

Tel. +44 (0)207-942-5594  Fax: +44 (0)207-942-5229

INTERNET: jsn at NHM.ac.uk

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