[Taxacom] Drosophila melanogaster name change?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Apr 8 17:24:02 CDT 2010

actually the bad precedent has possibly already been set by the mosquito case? I don't know all the details off-hand, but I believe that there has been some widespread rejection of "name changes" (recombinations) purely on the grounds of stability (but nothing involving the ICZN)?

From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: muscapaul <muscapaul at gmail.com>; "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Fri, 9 April, 2010 9:57:04 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Drosophila melanogaster name change?

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 ...


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.



More information about the Taxacom mailing list