[Taxacom] alternate taxonomy employment

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Tue Feb 16 15:46:17 CST 2010

David Campbell wrote:

>Warner Brothers years ago evidently had a cartoonist who knew some
>taxonomy.  In a cartoon where Daffy Duck tries to hide out in Porky
>Pig's house rather than migrate south (don't have the original
>reference, but it is re-used in 1001 Wabbit Tales), Daffy tries to hide
>by taking the place of a stuffed duck.  The label for the stuffed duck
>includes both American Black Duck, a genus and species are given: Ilex
>opaca.  They're both eukaryotes, but it's too early to blame a little
>mixup in the barcoding lab.

Ah, the dreaded "Warner Brothers taxonomy" strikes again. It's a good 
thing that the Code does have one prominent (and uncharacteristically 
subjective) Article that prevents all the dozens of Warner Brothers 
species names (e.g., "Speedibus rex", "Famishus famishus", etc.) from 
being considered "published" -

Art 8.1.1: "it must be issued for the purpose of providing a public 
and permanent scientific record"

Arguably, 8.1.2 (must be freely available at time of issue, at least 
for purchase) might also apply, since the printed scripts (which 
might potentially make such names "published") were proprietary 
Warner Brothers property, not publicly available. It also doesn't 
help that the text version was printed on paper, while the 
"accompanying illustrations" were on cellulose acetate, and not 
actually issued together with the text. ;-)

I'm sure the bird taxonomists are grateful that they do NOT have to 
list "Ilex opaca" as a synonym of Anas rubripes or "Speedibus rex" as 
a synonym of Geococcyx californianus. There are lots of "real" names 
for fictitious organisms (e.g., Nessiteras rhombopteryx or 
Shillingsworthia shillingsworthi, or Gerolf Steiner's entire order 
"Rhinogradentia" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinogradentia] ), but 
it's harder to find cases like these of real organisms with fake 
scientific names.


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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