Botanical nomenclatural query

Moore, Gerry gerrymoore at BBG.ORG
Tue Apr 2 16:03:07 CST 2002

  I believe the ICBN does already cover this case as a nom nov. case. This
is clearly stated in Article 7.3: "A new name published as an avowed
substitute (replacement name, nomen novum) for an older name is typified by
the type of the older name ..." Yes the example under this article does
involve the publication of a nom. nov. (Myrica lucida) for an illegitmate
name (Myrica laevis), but the article clearly does not limit the publication
of substitute names only for illegitmate names.
  As John McNeill as already pointed out names do not have priority outside
the rank in which they were published (Art 11.3). Therefore when a taxon's
rank is changed so can the name be changed. It is recommended (e.g., Rec.
21B.3, Rec. 24B.2) that when a taxon's rank is changed the name be retained,
unless there is an obstacle in doing so.
  I think the general rule of thumb is that if you introduce a name with a
new type (i.e., something that has not previously served as a type) you have
published a new taxon (assuming you meet the requirements for valid
publication). If you introduce a new name with the same type as a previously
published name then you have introduced a nom nov.  There can be perceived
gray areas  -- one can think they are describing a new taxon when in reality
the type they assigned had previously been assigned to another name.
Therefore, they thought they described a new taxon but they actually just
introduced a new name.  But as Tom Lammers already noted, whether someone
identifies a name as the name of a new taxon or a substitute name has no
real nomenclatural effect, other than the fact that a nom. nov. must be
typfied by the name it is replacing.

Gerry Moore
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
2 April 2002
GR: I obviously agree in the fact that the new name "is based on an earlier
published description and type". I agree too that reading Art. 7.3 only, the
conclusion could be : it is a nomen novum.
Therefore the problem is that : the nomen novum concept in the ICBN is
(apparently) not made for such a case. In all cases where the nomen novum
concept appear, the "replaced name" is clearly illegitimate (or generally :
not usable). This is notably true in Art.58.1, the main article for concrete
application of this concept. This article explicitely and exclusively
concern replacement of illegitimate names ! In our case the replaced synonym
is not illegitimate.
  I convince my first statement "it is a species nova" was apparently
"heretic", but it was suggested by a strict reading of the Code. I have
difficulties to admit the solution be clearly "it is a nomen novum". Then I
remain in the trouble. The case seems to be not definitely foreseen and
apparently not explained in the Code (but error !).
  If really the intended sense of the nomen novum concept include our case,
it would be necessary to add something in the Code, perhaps our simple
example. John, you are the right man ...

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