[Taxacom] shortest description

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Fri Feb 25 12:39:57 CST 2011

Hhhhm. So "fine" is not an acceptable description? Where do you draw the line? Does fine mean excellent or thin? If the latter it is morphologically informative, if the former, maybe the author ate a sample and it was a chemistry trait? 

Probably everyone should use common sense and ignore stupid descriptions and treat the names as nomina nuda, as you do, but to do that, you need to just do it and assume no one will bother wasting time discussing it at some later date. If you discuss it, it will never go away until someone proposes to formally list the name as an execration in the Code.

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Richard H. Zander 
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA 
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of David Campbell
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 12:18 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] shortest description

In general, very minimal descriptions are recognized as qualifying under the letter of the zoological code, though not the spirit of it.

I have a species of interest (Lymnaea bulla Benson, 1836) for which the original publication gave a detailed locality description and said there were two new species there.  He only described one of the two, however.  bulla is only mentioned in passing in the description of the other species, and the only description of it is the uninformative word "fine".  (The text has butta; corrigenda makes it bulla)

Kobelt (1880) cited Benson's name but also gave a figure and a description, unfortunately with a much more vague locality.

I have interpreted Benson's name as nude because there is no description of the species and thus regard the valid name as bulla Kobelt.  Other opinions?

Kobelt based a new genus-level name on the taxon, hence the interest.
Probable senior synonyms exist at the species level (with a caveat about possible cryptic species).

Dr. David Campbell
The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca NY 14850

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