[Taxacom] Family Chilodontidae - unresolved homonym

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Apr 26 11:32:33 CDT 2010

Dan Lahr wrote:

>I'm a bit confused. Why is Chilodontidae not pre-occupied by the
>ciliate family name? At the time these were treated as animals
>(Infusoria), insn't this provisioned by Article 2? I know it gets more
>complicated when protists come into the picture, but that is where my
>interest lies...

And this is something remarkably obscure which I certainly missed, 
and - I presume - Gary did, as well. Even after you indicated the 
existence of this group, I can only track down three "Chilodontidae" 
Google hits out of 9410 that refer to protists, only two of which are 
in English.

Assuming that you are correct about them being considered animals at 
the time the name was proposed, and about the suprageneric usage 
predating 1912 (and assuming that no ICZN ruling has already treated 
this case), then yes, Art. 2.2 does indicate that such a name must be 
considered for purposes of homonymy, and yes, this complicates the 

Ken Kinman added:

>        Doug, although there is clearly no totally  non-disruptive
>solution in this case, I am skeptical that "Chilodontaidae" might be the
>least disruptive.  I suspect that Chilodidae is indeed the best choice
>for the fish family, given that taxon's original description and naming.

It is generally not the case that the senior homonym is the one that 
is changed in order to conserve the junior homonym, which is what you 
are proposing. In fact, since you are proposing to suppress the 
protist name, you are suggesting that the juniormost of the three 
homonyms be the one to keep "Chilodontidae". It's not that it 
couldn't be done - the Plenary Power can do virtually anything - but 
making a persuasive case for doing so might be a challenge. From what 
I can glean from online usage, the vast majority of those 9410 
occurrences of Chilodontidae refer to the fish, suggesting that 
*overall* stability might best be served by allowing the fish to keep 
the name (note that there are only 83 hits for Chilodidae, at least a 
few of which are traceable to pre-1950 references).

This promises to be an interesting case when it comes to the Commission.


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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