Fwd: Re: critter names

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Wed Oct 10 14:28:00 CDT 2001

Una wrote:

>  >the zoological code, which if I remember correctly and have understood
>  >properly, recommends the endings on species epithets remain despite
>>generic name changes.
>This recommendation would probably eliminate a lot of migrane headaches.

It's far more than that nowadays. Consider that a great many of us
now use electronic authority files. Consider that you can't teach a
database program how to conjugate latin. Then consider what happens
if you have a specimen labeled, say, "Leptocoris trivittatus" and the
database entry for that taxon - unbeknownst to you - is "Boisea
trivittata". What happens is your search comes up empty, because the
computer doesn't know that things like "igniventris" and "igniventre"
are effectively the same thing.
If we hope to use automation to assist in taxonomic information
management and museum curation, we will continue to suffer as long as
species epithets can fluctuate...UNLESS we come up with some sort of
parallel scheme where each species-level taxon is given a unique
number, which remains intact no matter what happens to the genus and


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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