[Taxacom] New species descriptions based on only 1 specimen

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Tue Sep 30 15:41:49 CDT 2008


I agree with Mike, except I'd say don't get bogged down in the illusion of a
testable hypothesis -- just be sure you designate the holotypes correctly
(and conform to other aspects of the Code), and, secondarily, justify your
confidence that communication amongst biologists is not well served by
applying any existing names to these specimens. More importantly, do
everything possible to preserve as much information concerning those
holotypes (from molecules to morphology) as possible, such that future
generations (e.g., with access to cheap whole-genome sequencers and
high-resolution 3D CT scanners) will have the raw material they need to make
their own decisions about the optimal definitions of species-concept
boundaries, and which holotypes those definitions circumscribe.

Aloha,
Rich

P.S. Why do I feel like I'm soon going to regret my intentional use of the
highly-charged "illusion of a testable hypothesis" expression.....should I
revise what I wrote to solicit less antagonism?  Nah...I'll let it ride.
I'm feeling sleepless and punchy at the moment....

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of 
> Michael A. Ivie
> Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:01 AM
> To: Steve Lingafelter
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] New species descriptions based on only 
> 1 specimen
> 
> My Vote:
> 
> Mountain out of a mole hill.  Generate a testable hypothesis 
> with the description, and it can be tested with further 
> information.  Reviewers should decide if the species is well 
> supported as a species based on characters presented. 
> 
> Mike
> 
> Steve Lingafelter wrote:
> > Hi Taxacomers,
> > I realize this is a tired debate, but nevertheless...
> >
> > I'm interested in some current opinions.  I am at the final 
> stages of 
> > data collection for a field guide to Dominican Republic 
> > Cerambycidae...however, I've got a handful of very charismatic new 
> > species which are sadly, after 10 expeditions (4 by our 
> group; several 
> > by Carnegie Museum and Harvard), represented by only 1 
> specimen each.
> >
> > I want to describe them and have them available for the field guide 
> > but I realize this is not an ideal situation (and I believe not 
> > accepted by some journals).  Am I making a mountain out of a 
> > mole-hill, and should I just describe the darned things?
> >
> > What would you do?
> >
> > Thanks for your thoughts,
> > Steve
> > ____________________________
> > Steven W. Lingafelter, Ph. D.
> > Systematic Entomology Lab, PSI, ARS, USDA National Museum 
> of Natural 
> > History, MRC-168 P O Box 37012 Washington, DC 20013-7012 U. S. A.
> >
> >
> >
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> >
> >
> >   
> 
> --
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> 
> Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
> 
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