[Taxacom] Drosophila melanogaster name change?

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Apr 14 12:19:41 CDT 2010

Dave Remsen, quoting David States, wrote:

>melanogaster is de facto the type species for the Drosophila

In *actual* fact, Musca funebris is the type species of Drosophila, 
and melanogaster is the type species of Sophophora. Furthermore, 
Sophophora and Drosophila are not synonyms in van der Linde's 
analysis; they are separate clades (not sister taxa) - with dozens 
and dozens of constituent species whose names would be affected. 
There was thus neither a nomenclatural problem to be resolved by the 
petition, nor a taxonomic problem. The idea was that Sophophora and 
Drosophila be declared synonyms simply by transforming the type 
species of the former into the type species of the latter, because 
it's inconvenient that the clade containing melanogaster is not the 
clade named Drosophila. Destroying two perfectly valid type species 
designations just to preserve a single genus-species combination is 
more than a little disruptive, especially for solely the sake of 
convenience. More to the point, if people went around claiming that 
the most well-known species in every genus was its "de facto" type 
species, this would completely undermine the entire concept of type 
species fixation - one of the absolute foundations of every Code of 
Nomenclature, zoological or otherwise.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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