[Taxacom] Species-level homonyms - between/within codes

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Thu Nov 11 05:22:51 CST 2010

For scientific names of organisms I would use the term honomym like 
Steven proposed it, just in the sense of an available name of the 
same spelling used for a different organism. For the bioinformatician 
who has to disambiguate such names it makes no difference how many 
Codes exist and whether the homonyms are allowed under some of 
these Codes or not. The bioinformatician has also to deal with names 
that are misspelled or not allowed, by the way. As a bioinformatician 
I would also call a misspelled name of one organism a homonym of 
a correctly spelled name of another organism, if the spelling is the 

I would pretty much favour a new provision in the next 
edition of the zoological Code to restrict from then on establishing 
new genus-group names in zoology if the same name is already that of 
a genus under another Code. I am asking myself why such a provision 
has not already been inserted, but I suspect that this is simply 
because those taxonomists who were responsible for editing the 
ICZN Code have not yet been aware of the opportunities of electronic 
resources in the field of biodiversity studies.

The ICZN Code has a need to define the term "homonym" for the 
purposes of zoological nomenclature. I see this as a special 
definition for this purpose, also also regard such a definition as 
necessary and justified. But I do not see that this definition makes 
that sense exclusive for its general use in bioinformatics. I would 
not invent new terms, I would keep using this term homonym, also for 
interdisciplinary homonyms, just supporting Steven's position.


University of Goettingen, Germany

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