choosing lectotype

Steven Dessein Steven.dessein at BIO.KULEUVEN.AC.BE
Fri Jul 11 12:42:13 CDT 2003

Dear all,

First of all thanks to all who helped me identifying the beetle
visiting Spermacoce bangweulensis, as displayed at:

It is almost certainly a member of the Bruchidae, but collections are
needed to determine the genus. Apparently, it is very doubtful that
this species is an active pollinator.

The question I am dealing with now concerns the lectotypification of
Spermacoce breviflora F.Muell. ex. Benth., a species described by
Bentham in Flora Australiensis. In the protologue of the species,
Bentham cited several specimens. Only one of the cited specimens (a
very poor collection) has a handwritten label by Mueller, which
mentions the name Spermacoce breviflora. Mueller did not publish the
name, however. Detailed investigations by Bob Harwood (DNA herbarium,
Australia) show that the different syntypes represent different species.

Here are the questions:
(1) by choosing the lectotype, should any special value be attributed
to the fact that Mueller used the name for that particular specimen or
should the main criterion prevail, namely that the lectotype should be
that specimen that is closest to the original description
(2) if two syntypes are equally close to the original description, is
the argument of current usage more or less important than the fact that
Mueller wrote a name on one of the sheets

Many thanks in advance,


Steven Dessein
Laboratory of Plant Systematics
Kasteelpark Arenberg 31
3001 Leuven

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