nomina nuda

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Wed Nov 14 13:22:20 CST 2001

Doug et alia:

You are missing the point. There are today many way to "publish"
information. Information posted on the WWW / Internet is "published". I
noted that the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature does not
defined the definition of "published" except in its own sphere of influence,
etc. Obviously, no one now would declare that information put on the WWW is
not "published" in our common interpretation of that verb. Remember
"publish" simply means to make PUBLIC, it is not linked to "printing on

Under the ICZN a nomen nudum (see the glossary) is a Latin term for a name
that fails to conform to the requirement of the Code (Arts. 11 & 12 or 11 &
13, etc.). So, any "scientific" name "published" that does not meet ICZN
standards is a nomen nudum. So, Hendrik is simply wrong.

As for dates. Yes, because the WWW / Internet is ever changing, discovering
the proper date may be retrospectively difficult, but it is simple the time
at which the name first appeared. That applies to all dissemination media.

So for Dendrotermopsis Myles, when did this name first appear? in 1996 or
1998? You might now be able to tell today from that WWW page, but at least
Myles or his Webmaster knows when it first appeared.

Under the Red book (3rd edition), WWW / Internet publication was not valid
for simply this particular reason. WWW / Internet dissemination has always
failed and will continue to fail to met the requirments of ICZN publication
due to article 8(a) (or 8.1 (4th edition)) "... edition of SIMULTANEOUSLY
obtainable copies by a method that assures numerous IDENTICAL and DURABLE

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C. 20560-0169
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at [NB: no terminal "n"]
visit our Diptera site at

>>> Doug Yanega <dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU> 11/14 12:39 PM >>>
Chris Thompson wrote:

>Under the code, these names, if not published elsewhere in an
>available format, are nomina nuda. They should simply be listed as such
>future publications.

but Hendrik Segers wrote:

>Such names (if not published separately in a conventional way, of course)
>are to be considered unpublished. The names proposed in the website
>even nomina nuda, which are *published* names that do not conform to
>requirements set in the code.

So we have two differing opinions - myself, I had understood the
latter to be the correct principle, but was unsure of how web
"publications" were treated by the pre-2000 version of the ICZN (I
recall some confusion surrounding some new Cryptocercus species
proposed in a web publication, which were later "validated" by
publication in Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society). IF we
accept Chris' claim that they are nomina nuda, wouldn't that imply
that they were validly published? If so, if we further suppose that
Myles designated type species and type specimens for these genera,
that they would have been accepted - which is precisely the sort of
situation that arose with those Cryptocercus? SO...what is the status
of those Cryptocercus names? Is the original date of publication the
webpage, or the hardcopy?

Another detail - if we go with Chris' claim that they should be cited
in future publications, how do we know which date to assign? There's
no indication that all of these new genera were in the 1996 version
of the page, so some may only have been added in 1998, but there's no
way to tell. So would one list it as, say, "Dendrotermopsis Myles
1996 (1998) Nom. Nud."??

Definitely a mess.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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