Lectotype rules again

David Rider David_Rider at NDSU.NODAK.EDU
Wed Jan 31 08:31:49 CST 2001

Dear all,

         I must admit that my recent post on the new lectotype was a little 
off target.  I thought people were having more general objections to the 
articles pertaining to lectotype designations, when, in fact, most are only 
objecting to article 74.7.3 which pertains to adding a statement on the 
purpose of the designation (i.e. for nomenclatural stability, etc.).  I 
apologize for disagreeing about one thing, but discussing something 
else.  I am still not sure why it is such a problem to add these 
words.  The problem is that various workers have not been educated yet on 
this article, so there are a number of lectotype designations already 
published in 2000 that strictly speaking would not be valid.  I think at 
the least, we do need some clarification of the article, and how to 
consider those designations that are not completely valid.  I must say that 
I am not as opposed to elimnating this one article as I was to some of the 
other things I discussed.


At 09:11 AM 1/31/01 +0100, you wrote:
>Dear all,
>I am posting this on behalf of Dr Wojciech J. Pulawski, who is not
>subscribing to entomo-l. Please reply (also) directly to him:
>wpulawski at calacademy.org <mailto:wpulawski at calacademy.org>
>This has already been posted to Taxacom and David Rider has replied to it in
>Erik van Nieukerken
>Dear Colleague:
>As you well know, the Fourth Edition of the International Code of Zoological
>Nomenclature has been in power since 1 January 2000.  It includes a number
>of  novelties, one of which, in my opinion, is unfortunate and should be
>repealed as soon as possible (Article 74.7.3).  The reasons for my opinion
>are given in my letter to the International Commission on Zoological
>Nomenclature of 21 November 2000 (copy attached).  An individual voice,
>however, is likely to generate no more than a polite answer with no
>consequences ("your letter is deserving attention", "I share your view, but
>cannot change the Code representing a collective opinion", etc.).
>Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it, if you join me in protesting this
>innovation and to send a supporting letter to the Commission.  You are
>welcomed to use my letter as a template, with necessary modifications.
>21 November 2000
>P.K. Tubbs, Secretary
>International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
>c/o Museum of Natural History, Cromwell Road
>London SW7 5BD,
>Great Britain
>Dear Commission:
>As a practicing taxonomist with some 40 years of experience, I feel obliged
>to protest against the Article 74.7.3 that first appeared in the Fourth
>Edition of the Code.  It requires that "to be valid, a lectotype designation
>made after 1999 must contain an express statement of the taxonomic purpose
>of the designation".
>In my view, this Article is objectionable and unnecessary for two reasons:
>1.      It requires a justification of the obvious. It is true that there
>are some rare cases of failure in lectotype  designation (e.g., specimens
>unsuitable for identification purposes are designated when better specimens
>are present; or a lectotype is selected from a mixed series, changing the
>established species concept or resulting in other negative nomenclatural
>impact).  Unfortunately, we have no protection mechanism against unqualified
>work, and the formal statement required by the new Code adds nothing to the
>quality of lectotype designation. There is no need to justify in words the
>usual process of typification, the importance of which is clearly stated in
>the Code (Article 61.1).  It is also inconsistent  to require a statement of
>the lectotype designation, whether no similar requirement is expected for
>the holotype designation.
>2.      Since every designation of a lectotype has to be individual (Article
>74.3), it requires multiple repetitions when more than one lectotype is
>being designated in a paper.  For example, I am preparing a large paper on
>Tachysphex wasps in which some 40 lectotypes are designated.  Article 74.7.3
>forces me to repeat 40 times the formula "here  designated in order to
>ensure the name's proper and consistent application".  I find it to be
>         I would strongly recommend that this ill-conceived innovation to the
>Code be removed at your earliest convenience.
>Sincerely yours,
>Wojciech J. Pulawski
>Department of Entomology
>California Academy of Sciences
>Some comments received after submission of the above letter are worth
>1.      "The Code says nowhere that the lectotypes should be designated by a
>specialist, nor does it prevent designations made for the sole purpose of
>increasing the number of lectotypes in an institution or personal
>collection.  Consequently, lectotype designations made by a non-specialist
>with a statement like "here designated in order to have as many primary
>types in this collection as possible and thus to facilitate the taxonomic
>work of specialists working here" will be in agreement with the Code, even
>if the sex of the lectotype and the label information are not provided
>(these are only recommended, Recommendation 74C)."
>2.      F. Chérot and O.S.G. Pauwels  designated 23 lectotypes in their
>                 2000. Les spécimens-types de Miridae (Insecta: Heteroptera)
>des collections du Musée Royal de l'Afrique centrale (Tervuren, Belgique).
>Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale Tervuren, Belgique.  Documentation
>Zoologique  24:1-23
>                 which is a list of types, not a taxonomic revision.  For
>each designation they used a statement "Afin de lever tous risques
>d'ambiguïté concernant le taxon nominal du niveau espèce défini par
>ostension comme [name, author, date], nous en avons sélectionné le
>                 If the intention of Article 74.7.3 was to prevent lectotype
>designations as a curatorial practice, then it failed badly, only resulting
>in lengthy repetitions.
>3.      The prescribed formula has not been used (only "here designated" or
>an equivalent) in a number of recent papers that appeared in prestigious
>journals.  Six  random examples include:
>         Caldara, R. 2000. Revisione dei Pachytychius delle regioni
>Afrotropicale e Orientale (Coleoptera Curculionidae). Memorie della Società
>Entomologica Italiana 78:31-166 (8 lectotypes designated).
>         Glaubrecht, M. & Salcedo-Vargas, M.A. 2000. Annotated type catalogue
>of the Cephalopoda (Mollusca) in the Museum fur Naturkunde, Humboldt
>University of  Berlin.  Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in
>Berlin, Zoologische Reihe 76:269-282.
>         Huber, B.  2000.  New World pholcid spiders Araneae: Pholcidae): a
>revision at generic level.  Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural
>History  254:1-348.
>         Norris, K.R.  2000.  Lectotype designation and description of the
>Tasmanian blowfly Calliphora dispar Macquart 1846 (Diptera: Calliphoridae).
>Australian Journal of Entomology  39:256-258 (accepted for publication 9
>June 2000).
>         Puplesis, R. and G.S. Robinson.  2000.  A review of the Central and
>South American Nepticulidae (Lepidoptera) with special reference to Belize.
>Bulletin of the Natural History Museum.  Entomology Series.  69:1-114.
>         van Tol, J.  2000.  The Odonata of Sulawesi and adjacent Islands.
>Part 5.  The genus Protosticta Selys (Platystictidae).  Tijdschrift voor
>Entomologie 143:221-266.
>         According to Article 74.7.3, lectotype designations in these papers
>are invalid, but rejecting them would not help taxonomy. Rather, the Article
>should be rejected.
>Wojciech J. Pulawski <wpulawski at calacademy.org
><mailto:wpulawski at calacademy.org> >
>Department of Entomology
>California Academy of Sciences

David A. Rider
Department of Entomology
Hultz Hall, Box 5346
University Station
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota 58105
(701) 231-7902
David_Rider at ndsu.nodak.edu

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