[Taxacom] Species-level homonyms - between/within codes
Paul van Rijckevorsel
dipteryx at freeler.nl
Wed Nov 10 02:31:12 CST 2010
Van: Tony.Rees at csiro.au [mailto:Tony.Rees at csiro.au]
Verzonden: di 9-11-2010 23:33
> Dear Rich, list members,
> I think there is a disconnect between what the Code governs i.e.
> nomenclatural acts - creation and usage of family-group, genus-group,
> and species-group names (i.e., the epithet portion only), and the
> combination of genus-group name and species epithet (i.e. binomen)
> that for practical purposes constitutes the actual species name
> (taxon name at species level), but are considered to be taxonomic
> as opposed to nomenclatural actions.
I don't see any such disconnect, but certainly the binomen does not
constitute the actual species name (taxon name at species level),
"for practical purposes" but it does so by definition. See for
example in the Glossary:
"species name or name of a species
A scientific name of a taxon at the rank of species.
A binomen, the combination of a generic name and a specific
* * *
> [...] Simply because something is not defined in the Code does
> not preclude it from existing outside the scope of governance
> of the Code (which is confined to nomenclature), I would submit.
This is a non-statement if ever I saw one!
I exist outside the scope of governance of the Code (as do all
other list members). The laptop beside me exists outside the scope
of governance of the Code. Etc.
* * *
> In other words I have not seen any compelling argument that
> binomial homonyms do not exist in zoology, and therefore if
> they exist in zoology, they can equally exist between Codes
> as well - unless someone would like to put the counter-argument??
Well, that all depends. Of course you can talk about "binominal
homonyms", but they are much like your "specific epithets". You
can use whatever words you like (instead of "specific epithets"
you could call them "small names" or "species indicators", or
whatever). How far this is meaningful depends on your target
audience, and on what you agreements you have made with your
However, nomenclaturally it is different. There is separate
nomenclatural universe governed by the zoological Code
(and separate nomenclatural universes governed by the
botanical Code, the bacteriological Code, etc. The
zoological nomenclatural universe is "leakier" than the
botanical one, and presumably the bacteriological is
neater still, but that will be because the bacteriologists
shrunk their universe by wiping out the sloppier part of
their universe with one fell swoop).
In the zoological nomenclatural universe binominal
homonyms (or specific epithets) do not exist. The by now
oft-quoted definition of a homonym represents a very
"(3) In the species group: each of two or more available
specific or subspecific names having the same spelling,
or spellings deemed under Article 58 to be the same,
and established for different nominal taxa, and either
originally (primary homonymy) or subsequently
(secondary homonymy) combined with the same
generic name [Art. 53.3]. [...]"
As to "[homonyms] can equally exist between Codes as well",
I do not see how Art 52.7 could be more explicit:
"52.7. Homonymy with names of taxa which are not animals.
The name of an animal taxon identical with the name of a
taxon which has never been treated as animal is not a
homonym for the purposes of zoological nomenclature "
There may be different usages in zoology in general, or in any
selected group of zoologists (or other persons) with their own
shared values and terms. However, in my view, anybody using
technical terms would be well advised to be aware of (and
precise about) as to what frame of reference he is operating in.
In this case, to be clear that you are not expressing yourself
in a nomenclatural sense, but in a different sense, and what
sense that may be.
I do like "homograph", which is the best suggestion yet. There
is hope that this will remain unambiguous!
More information about the Taxacom