nomenclature query

Steve at Steve at
Wed Mar 27 11:13:16 CST 2002


> At which point (if either) are the species names considered new
combinations?  Or are they not so
> considered until someone first actually publishes the names in those
combinations?

It's your call.  Some people say the species name must be specifically
mentioned before it is considered a new combination (and therefore the
source of the combination may be later than the change in the generic
status).  Others say the "intent" is clear and the combinations date from
the generic change (even though the species names aren't specifically
mentioned).

The ICZN defines "new combination" as "the first combination of a generic
name and a previously established species-group name."  Saying "I'm moving
species xus to genus Aus" doesn't include the binomen Aus xus but most would
probably accept it as a new combination (although some may not); saying "I'm
synonymising genus Bus with genus Aus" is a grey area.  Some authors site
this as the source of new combinations, others wait until each individual
binomen is expressly stated.  There are pluses and minuses to both
approaches.

In the end, the safest approach is to include a statement of what you're
doing:  "I support the earlier proposed synonymy of Bus with Aus and the new
combinations created there for the following species ..." or "The new
combinations proposed here follow the earlier synonymy of Bus with Aus."  I
would suggest making it clear what you're doing and why you're doing it
rather than spending endless hours searching the literature for the first
person who might have mentioned each binomen in print.

[I'm a fan of focusing on science rather than book-keeping.]

Steve Shattuck




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