[Taxacom] Centropyge (was: barcode of life)

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Sun Jul 4 21:14:07 CDT 2010


I wonder if we would be having these conversations if the ICZN did not
limit the number of infraspecific ranks to one and the trinomial, and
offered instead the rich, eloquent and informative tapestry of the
ICBN?  :)

jim

On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 11:37 AM, Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> Ken,
>
>> And it would have the added benefit that in databases like NCBI, they would be alphabetically together
> Now there's a pragmatist! :)
>
> On my view (a, or the, BSC), your opinion of them as subspecies is merely a fallible alternative to calling them distinct species. One or other of these two options is right and the other wrong. Your assessment of the evidence leads you to one conclusion, but my assessment of the same evidence might lead me to the other (and let's say it does, for argument's sake). You think the butler did it, I think it was the gardener! But if it turned out that gene flow really was limited to the narrow border zone, and that this was stable, then on my view I would be obliged to call them distinct species, whereas on your view you could still choose to call them subspecies because of the greater informativeness and alphabetic contiguity of doing so. And on your view I could choose to call them distinct species just because I might be getting paid per new species that I describe. I'm not sure what taxonomists would be doing in that case, but it doesn't sound to me much
>  like science ...
>
> Stephen
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net>
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Mon, 5 July, 2010 1:11:22 PM
> Subject: [Taxacom] Centropyge (was: barcode of life)
>
> Hi Rich and Stephen,
>       I disagree with you both.  I believe that it would be best to
> recognize two subspecies of one widespread species in this case:
> Centropyge flavissima flavissima and Centropyge flavissima vroliki.
> This is more informative than leaving them separate species.  And it
> would have the added benefit that in databases like NCBI, they would be
> alphabetically together.
>     I suspect that there are quite a few separate genes involved in
> their coloration and that even though there may be considerable gene
> flow of many of these genes, that it is not apparent beyond the zones
> with swarms of intergrades ("hybrids").  Humans in the American colonies
> showed how quickly the children or grandchildren of mulattos could pass
> for black or white depending on whether they married blacks or whites.
> Yet we don't use that as evidence that blacks and whites are separate
> species.  Millions of white Americans have no idea that they have black
> ancestors (and vice versa).
>       So I don't think coloration is a very good basis on which to
> assess gene flow, even for individual coloration genes (much less all
> the many other genes that have nothing to do with coloration).  Anyway,
> I really don't understand why ichthyologists, like entomologists, are so
> reluctant to formally recognize subspecies with trinomials in cases like
> this.  Perhaps they are put off because mammalogists and ornithologists
> have often overdone the splitting of subspecies.  But to me it seems
> like there must a happy medium that is optimally informative and useful.
>           ---------Ken
>
>
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