Holotype fragment (botany)

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Thu Jan 12 06:57:31 CST 2006

In zoology, the name-bearing type specimen (Holotype, Lectotype, Neotype) is
assumed to be the entire genetically coherent individual organism (or single
clonal colony/culture), regardless of how many parts it has been divided
into (e.g., skin, skeleton & preserved soft tissue), or how many museums it
is scattered across.  If only a part of the organism is preserved in a
Museum (e.g., a shark jaw), the rest of the organism still constitutes part
of the name-bearing type (a botanical analogue would be that the entire tree
is the holotype, even if only a leave is collected and preserved in a
museum). In the case where the name-bearing type is represented only by an
illustration or photo, the individual organism upon which that illustration
is based or of which the photo is taken is the type; not the illustration or
photograph per se.

Keeping in mind the shared goal of all Codes of nomenclature to maximize
objectivity and minimize ambiguity in anchoring names to the biological
world, my questions to botanists are:

1) Do you see any logical advantages to the way it is done in botany
(defining the name-bearing type in the context of Museum specimens, rather
than genetically coherent individual organisms or colonies);

2) Is there any biological or practical reason why botanical types and
zoological types should be defined differently? Or, is the difference simply
one of tradition?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
> Behalf Of Paul van Rijckevorsel
> Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 3:09 AM
> Subject: Re: Holotype fragment (botany)
> Some notes:
> * Art 9.1. A holotype of a name ... is the one specimen or
> illustration ...
> used by the author, or designated by the author ..."
> * A "fragment of a holotype" only deserves status as any kind of
> type if it
> is big enough to be a specimen (as defined in Art 8.2). A herbarium sheet
> loses bits and pieces all the time (from molecules evaporating
> and up). If a
> fragment is not big enough to be a specimen then it cannot be a
> isotype (Art
> 9.3). A more interesting point is whether the fragment remains part of the
> "original material"  (Art 9 Note 2).
> * What does "one herbarium" mean? The NHN is one organisation, with three
> physical locations, each of which has its own herbarium
> abbreviation (L, U,
> WAG). Is this one herbarium or are there three?
> Hope this forwards the discussion,
> Paul
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Paul Kirk" <p.kirk at CABI.ORG>
> Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2006 12:41 PM
> Subject: Re: Holotype fragment (botany) [ Scanned for viruses ]
> I do not find that the Code requires that the holotype is the
> "specimen used
> by the author" - it is 'the element to which the name of a taxon is
> permanently attached' (Art. 7.2) and an indication of this is required for
> valid publication (Art. 37). If it is split (before or after the date of
> effective publication of the name of the taxon to which it is permanently
> attached), that element (those elements) which is not (are not) in the
> herbarium/collection cited must be an isotype(s). If the name was
> published
> before the requirement mandated by Art. 37.6 then they are all
> isotypes and
> a lectotype should be required.
> Or am I missing something here?
> Paul
> Dr Paul M. Kirk
> Biosystematist
> CABI Bioscience
> Bakeham Lane
> Egham
> Surrey TW20 9TY
> UK
> tel. (+44) (0)1491 829023, fax (+44) (0)1491 829100, email p.kirk at cabi.org
> www.cabi-bioscience.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
> Behalf Of Guido Mathieu
> Sent: 12 January 2006 10:44
> Subject: [TAXACOM] Holotype fragment (botany) [ Scanned for viruses ]
> By definition the holotype is the specimen used by the author to describe
> the
> taxon. When a part of that holotype is split of at that time (or later on)
> and
> transferred to another herbarium, it still is material used to
> describe the
> taxon and thus fits the definition. Art. 8.1 of the ICBN states that the
> holotype is 'a single specimen conserved in one herbarium' and for that
> reason
> the separated material might be called an isotype (though effectively used
> for
> the first description and evidently deserving some other 'status' than
> isotypes
> not seen by the author). The ICBN also states that 'a specimen is usually
> mounted on a single herbarium sheet' (art. 8.2). As 'usually' is 'not
> always',
> the exceptions are clarified as 'a specimen may be mounted as
> more than one
> preparation, as long as the parts are clearly labeled as being
> part of that
> same
> specimen (Art. 8.3). 'Clearly' may have different meanings
> depending on the
> extend one is familiar with the concerning annotations but anyway
> the parts
> have
> to be in 'one herbarium' as says art. 8.1.
> There remains some dispute whether this separated holotype part should be
> called
> a holotype fragment or an isotype. The term 'holotype fragment' (which is
> not
> the same as 'holotype' and clearly indicates a segregation act) is not
> defined
> by the ICBN.
> Guido Mathieu
> Peperomia Research Group
> Department of Biology
> Ghent University
> K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35,
> B-9000 Gent. Belgium
> www.peperomia.net

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