funny(?) mistakes

Rudy Jocque jocque at AFRICAMUSEUM.BE
Fri Feb 20 17:00:43 CST 2004

Now that the Zoological Record on line can be consulted free for a month
it is perhaps the moment to
attract the attention to remarkable mistakes or deliberate fakes in
taxonomy. Some of them are rather disconcerting like the presence in the
Zoological Record of a fake mammal (Marsupilami franquini) which is an
animal that was invented by the artist Franquin and that only exists in
his comic strips!

Some mistakes though tend to be funny like for instance the spider that
proved to be a mite or the spider male palp that was drawn upside down.
In fact the muscle filaments with which it had been attached were drawn
as the male copulatory organ! Other cases I only have from rumours.
There is for instance an allegation of a  description of a slug
(molluscs) that later proved to be a larval dipteran.
There are also cases of monographs of horrible quality like for instance
the Roewer revision (1958-1959) on African lycosids (spiders) in which
many species are mentioned under several names. I think that the present
record is that of a Pardosa species that is mentioned under five
different names in three different genera in that same monograph. .
I assume that most groups have such remarkable mistakes or fakes but it
is difficult to find out when one is not a specialist in the field. Any

Royal Museum for Central Africa
B-3080 Tervuren
e-mail: jocque at

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