[Taxacom] Chilodontidae - unresolved homonym

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Mon Apr 26 23:25:23 CDT 2010

Dear Ken, all,

According to that ultra-reliable(?) source Wikipedia there are 11 genera currently in Chilodontidae (Gastropoda), and 2 genera (with a total of 8 species) in Chilodontidae (fishes).

As a lay person with no expert knowledge of the code, might I ask if, on the basis that Chilodontidae (ciliates) is invalid, being based on a genus name that is a junior homonym, does that make the next instance of Chilodontidae (fishes) available or unavailable? In other words, I am unclear which of these cases applies:

(A) Chilodontidae (fishes) is valid as it has priority over Chilodontidae (Gastropoda), the latter is invalid and requires either a replacement name (which anyone might propose), or a case prepared to ICZN to conserve it over Chilodontidae (fishes)

(B) Neither Chilodontidae (Gastropoda) or Chilodontidae (fishes) are valid, because both are junior homonyms of Chilodontidae (ciliates), and an ICZN ruling is required to establish either of them

(C) Both Chilodontidae (Gastropoda) and Chilodontidae (fishes) are valid, and an ICZN ruling is required to decode between them (and provide a replacement name for the one not supported). (Somehow I think this cannot be).

All answers appreciated!

By the way, I cannot claim credit for being the first to discover this homonymy (though I did find it independently by receiving data on both fishes and gastropods allocated to the same apparent family name). That discovery dates at least to a Wikipedia author in 2007, see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chilodontidae&action=history , for which some credit must be due.

Regards - Tony

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
Sent: Tuesday, 27 April 2010 12:44 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Chilodontidae - unresolved homonym

Hi Doug,        
        Well, the senior synonym in this case is the
protist (ciliate), and I don't know of ANYONE who would advocate giving
it precedence in this case. Therefore, the real decision to be made
involves two junior synonyms (for the gastropod family or the fish
family). That one is MORE junior than the other will hopefully not be a
major consideration.     
       How many gastropod researchers or fish researchers
will express strongly-held positions (to maintain their own family as
Chilodontidae) may have some influence.  We shall see.  Being a
vertebrate biologist by training, I guess I should tend to favor
stability for the fish family. However, in this case, there is already
an alternative name (Chilodidae/Chilodinae) available for the fish
taxon.  It may not have as many google hits, but it is there
nevertheless. The gastropod taxon has no comparable  alternative name at
all.  I suspect that alone would persuade a majority of Commissioners to
vote in favor of the gastropod family Chilodontidae.  Add to that the
fact that many fish researchers don't even recognize their Chilodontidae
as a full family (but part of Anostomidae) makes me wonder if they (fish
researchers) would recognize a name change as problematic as gastropods
workers would for their family Chilodontidae (which seems to be ranked
as a full family by all).          
            Anyway, pending a proposal to the
Commission, and reading comments on that proposal, I would still
presently lean toward Chilodidae (or Chilodinae) for the fish taxon, and
Chilodontidae for the gastropod taxon.  But not being a member of the
Commission, my vote is irrelevant.  As for the senior Chilodontidae (for
the ciliate protist), ciliate protists have probably always been
considered "animals" under the jurisdiction of the ICZN (not only back
in the 1870s, but to the present day).  So I reiterate that this is a
battle between two junior synonyms, so seniority seems to be a minor
consideration in this case.  But I agree it will be an interesting case
to watch, especially if the gastropods researchers and fish researchers
decide that it is worth fighting over.       
            --------Ken Kinman 
P.S.   Does anyone know how many species there are in the gastropod
family Chilodontidae and the fish family Chilodontidae?  That might  be
an additional consideration as well.
Doug Yanega wrote:
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 


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