Non type specimens

John Bruner jbruner at UALBERTA.CA
Wed Sep 1 12:45:55 CDT 2004

On Wed, 1 Sep 2004, Livio Leoni wrote:
> Dear taxacomers,
> is it usual to use, besides holotype and paratypes, morphometric and
> meristic characters of nontype specimens in the description of a new
> species? Is the description valid?
> best regards
> Livio
> Livio Leoni Dr.
> 24047 Treviglio (BG)
> Italy
Any specimens used in the original description of a new species become
part of the type series.  As soon as the specimens are used to give a
range of meristic characters, morphometric characters, localities,
formations, or are figured in the original description, they become part
of the type series.  The practice of designating some of the specimens as
non-type material, and then going ahead and using the characters for those
specimens in Tables of characters, is absolutely INCORRECT. Over-burdened,
over-worked, volunteer editors and manuscript reviewers seldom check the
catalogue numbers in the text and tables against the list of types in the
materials section. I have noticed Copeia, published by the American
Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, has been allowing authors to
describe new species of fishes using specimens that authors designate as
non-type specimens but then use their meristics and morphometrics as part
of the range of characters of the type series. You cannot use non-type
material in the original description of a new species. "ARTICLE 72.
General provisions. (b) Type-series. The type-series of a species consists of all
the specimens on which its author bases the species, except any that he
refers to as variants, or doubtfully associates with the nominal species,
or expressly excludes it."  To designate some specimens as non-type
material and then use them to help describe a new species goes against the
spirit of article 72,b.

2 examples from Copeia 2002(1):

Armbruster, Jonathan W.  2002.  *Hypancistrus inspector*: a new species of
suckermouth aromored catfish (Loricariidae: Ancistrinae).  Copeia
        FMNH 106009, 5 specimens, i cleared-and-stained,  Nontype material
on p. 87 (probably ='s FMNH 106099 of Fig.1, B, on page 87, because FMNH
106099 is not listed anywhere as part of the material examined). FMNH
106009 is figured in Fig. 1, B, and is one of two cleared-and-stained
specimens used to describe three synapomorphies that unite *Hypancistrus
inspector* and *Hypancistrus zebra* (page 90) 1.) widely separated
metapterygoid and lateral ethmoid, 2.) presence of a sharply angled
adductor palatini crest of the hyomandibula, and, 3.) loss of the lateral
wall of the pterygoid channel.

Iwata, Akihisa, and Sakai, Harumi. 2002.  *Odontobutis hikimius* n. sp.: a
new freshwater goby from Japan, with a key to species of the genus.
Copeia 2002(1):104-110.
    Iwata and Sakai list 19 specimens a "nontype material" and one holotype
and 14 paratypes for *Odontobutis hikimius*.  However, in "Table 1.
Frequency distributions of meristic counts of *Odontobutis hikimius* and
*Odontobutis obscura*", p. 105, they list 37 specimens for *Odontobutis
hikimius* for transverse scales, and 36 specimens for predorsal scales.
So, specimens not even part of the "nontype material" were used to give
meristics for the new species. Again, in "Table 2. P-V (pterygiophores and
vertebrae) pattern of *Odontobutis hikimius* ", p. 107, 33 specimens were
used to give the counts.

* Mr. John C. Bruner                                 *
* Department of Biological Sciences                  *
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