[Taxacom] Drosophila melanogaster name change?

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Apr 8 16:57:04 CDT 2010


At 11:34 AM -1000 4/8/10, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>possibly, but my main point was that it is ridiculous to apply to 
>the ICZN (or anybody else for that matter) for conservation of a 
>combination! Combination is a taxonomic/scientific matter, and not a 
>nomenclatural one in the sense that the ICZN has any mandate over 
>it. It would have set a very bad precedent indeed ...

Agreed.

The Commission was essentially being asked to approve a phylogenetic 
classification by fiat (and before it was published!). The Commission 
only deals with nomenclature, not taxonomy or systematics.

...also ...

Aedes aegypti seems to be doing just fine although its former 
subgenus was raised to genus level in the last decade and the common 
yellow fever mosquito is now properly known as "Stegomyia aegypti" in 
phylogenetic circles.

Ironically (or coincidentally), the ICZN Executive Secretary who 
accepted the application for conserving in futuris the combination 
Drosophila melanogaster (Andrew Polaszek) in 2006 authored an article 
(http://bit.ly/brlQ7i )requesting that, despite the phylogenetic work 
showing that aegypti should now be known as Stegomyia aegypti, 
authors should continue to use "Aedes aegypti" because it is a better 
known combination.

It is, they have, and the change of name in the phylogenetic analysis 
doesn't seem to have ruined the ability to communicate what species 
one is talking about. Numerous medical entomology textbooks and 
papers still refer to it as "Aedes aegypti".

I doubt new biology and genetics textbooks will be redacting 
Drosophila melanogaster to Sophophora melanogaster anytime soon.

-Neal




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