subsequent designation of paratypes

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Fri Apr 5 10:36:48 CST 2002

At 9:09 AM -0600 4/5/02, Andrew Smith wrote:
>Dear Barry,
>I would say that if there is no evidence that the "paratypes" were
>examined by the author for the original description then they should
>not be considered as part of the type series.  If you do find
>evidence (published or unpublished) that the specimens were examined
>for the original description then they are indeed paratypes (see
>Article  No explicit designation is needed in descriptions
>published before 2000.
>I would not presume that the "paratype" specimens were examined by
>the author when writing the original descriptions unless you have
>evidence that this occurred.  Many older authors  had a habit of
>designating types after the fact!
Hi Andrew - In the situation I'm dealing with, the author (still living)
followed the old practice of publishing short "diagnoses" (sometimes 30
species in 2 pages! - e.g. "holotype so long, so wide, from host X from
country N."  That ensured that nobody else would work on those groups!
Fortunately, he's lived long enough to  fully describe all of those species
(he's up to around 1500 publications now).  In the monographs published
subsequently, it's clear to me that he did have series for some of the
species from the beginning, and it's those that he subsequently designated
paratypes.  These sometimes, but not always, include specimens from the
same host individual as the holotype.  For many other collections noted in
the monographs, no paratypes are indicated.  These, I presume, are
specimens he examined subsequent to the original "description".
        Didn't mean to stir up the hornets, but hey, the botanical lawyers
have had the floor in Taxacom for the last week, so now its our turn!
        All the best! - Barry

Barry M. OConnor
Curator & Professor             phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
1109 Geddes Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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