Genera with many species

Pape, Thomas TPape at SNM.KU.DK
Mon Sep 26 14:51:26 CDT 2005


> ... most large genera are subject to taxonomist-erosion;
> marginal subgroups are gnawed off and given separate names all the time 

So, maybe the real interesting question is not exactly how many species, BUT:

With genera being defined through a strange mixture of strictly scientific (monophyly) and mainly psychological ('user-friendlyness') criteria, how do we approach the "taxonomist-erosion" Finn alludes to?

Should we call the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti [482,000 hits in Google] or Stegomyia aegypti [12,300 hits in Google]?

This matters not only for general communication and information retrieval but even for (zoological) nomenclature through issues of secondary homonymy and gender agreement.

Thomas Pape
The Natural History Museum of Denmark




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