Authority lists

Gail E. Kampmeier gkamp at UIUC.EDU
Tue Feb 5 09:56:56 CST 2002

As someone working with databases and bemoaning the fact that the
entomologists are not as organized as the botanists with regards to
authority lists, I would beg to differ with Robin.  You cannot assume that
someone describes only one type of organism and ferreting out differences
between one person and another when names are represented in several
different ways (not including misspellings!) is a royal pain.  I know that
we have several active people listed multiple times in our database because
names may appear with or without first names, with one initial or two, or
even worse, abbreviated (with no Brummitt & Powell for us to turn to).  Add
to this that there may be two people with the same family name, with no
distinguishing initials, and you have the distinct possibility that things
may be wrongly attributed and it would take an historian to ferret out the
truth (something we will eventually have to do).  Even initials don't
always guarantee distinction between two people with identical initials and
family names but different first names (yes, I remember seeing an example
of this, even working with a single family of flies).  So please eliminate
confusion where possible.


>To one and all,
>I believe it becomes a problem only when people of the same last name work
>in the same group or related groups of organisms.  For example, in spiders,
>there are C. Koch and C.L. Koch, and there are also O. Pickard-Cambridge and
>F.O. Pickard-Cambridge.  The Kochs were related to each other, and the
>Pickard-Cambridges were related to each other.  All of these men worked on
>spiders, and described new species.  There is an A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, but
>as near as I can figure out, he did not describe any new species.
>Closer to home, my father, Hugh B. Leech, described many new water beetle
>species.  I work on spiders and have described about 50 new species.  To the
>best of my knowledge, no one puts Xus yus H..B. Leech or Rus qus R.E. Leech.
>Our last names only are used.
>If you are intimately familiar with the literature in the dictyostelid
>cellular slime molds, you will know already whether or not there is another
>person with your last name.  I judge from your question that there is not,
>and that you are checking further afield.
>In sum, if there is someone with your last name who has published, or is
>publishing, on new species in your field of study, then yes, use initials.
>If not, do not.
>Another related issue is the use of just the first letter of your last name.
>The only person, especially with the initial 'L', who is given this
>privilege is Linnaeus.
>Robin Leech
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "John Landolt" <jlandolt at SHEPHERD.EDU>
>Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 5:12 AM
>Subject: Authority lists
>> Taxacom List Members:
>>         I am a co-author of a paper which will include formal
>> descriptions of several proposed new species.  If accepted, my name
>> will be included in the authority for each species binomial.  As I
>> understand it, if no other person with my last name has previously
>> described a new species, just my last name can be used now.  If any
>> other "Landolt" has previously been listed as any binomial's
>> authority, we must now include initials of my first and second name.
>> The new species in question are dictyostelid cellular slime molds and
>> traditionally, papers on slime mold taxonomy are submitted to
>> botanical or mycological journals.
>>         Is there an easy way for me to discover if the name, Landolt,
>> has previously been included in an authority reference?
>>         Thanks in advance for any advice.  I suppose any replies
>> should be directed to me rather than to the entire list.
>> Cheers,
>> John
>> --
>> John C. Landolt
>> Department of Biology
>> Shepherd College
>> Shepherdstown, WV 25443 U.S.A.
>> jlandolt at

Gail E. Kampmeier, Research Entomologist, Illinois Natural History Survey,
Box 5 NSRC, MC-637, 1101 W. Peabody, Urbana, IL 61801 USA
ph. 217-333-2824; fax 217-333-6784; email: gkamp at
See therevid webMandala at

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