[Taxacom] labeling redescriptions properly

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Thu Sep 8 09:00:10 CDT 2011

For zoological names I would recommend to stick to the ICZN Code of 
zoological nomenclature.

> include the names taken as valid names by authors (= "chresonyms"), 

> This would help us to make ZooBank an index of
> ALL available names in zoology...

I do not understand what the one thing has to do with the other.

Any person who mentioned the name F. sanguinea in a subsequent 
publication after 1798 used this name in a sense that was either well 
defined, moderately well defined, not very well defined, badly 
defined or unrecognisably well defined. As far as I know there are no 
consistent rules for clear definitions in this swamp and where the 
limits should be set. 

The identity of a zoological taxon is not defined by its description 
(much less by its redescription), but exclusively by its 
name-bearing types. If no name-bearing types are fixed or 
preserved then usage follows common acceptance. The term 
"redescription" is not a term used in the ICZN Code and nas no 
nomenclatural relevance. Much less could it be included to anything 
registered by ZooBank.

If Smith 1851 used the 1798 name in a recognisably good definition, 
but in our taxonomic judgement today misinterpreted this name and 
used it for a clearly different taxon, then it is usual practice to 
Formica sanguinea Latreille, 1798 sensu Smith, 1851

This indicated that Smith's usage of the name was not or probably 
not in line with the original name.

> Formica sanguinea sec. Smith 1851?
This is something entirely different. It only means that Smith may or 
may not have used the name in Latreille's or in the 
nomenclaturally correct sense (sec. = secundum, this term is 
undefined and in the broadest sense means only "as used by").

> Formica sanguinea (Smith, 1851)?

This again is something entirely different. 
Putting it this way would only be correct if Smith had no idea that 
Latreille and subsequent authors had used this name before, and if at 
the same time Smith used it for a clearly different taxon that would 
not be covered by Latreille's concept.
For example, if Latreille had used the name for a small red species 
from France, and Smith for a very big black species with red feet 
from Paraguay. 
But not if Latreille used the name for a small red species from 
a locality in N France and Smith used it for the same small red 
species from a different locality in N France.

We had the same discussion recently about the genus Testacella in the 
[iczn-list] mailing list. The result was that the definitions 
between new name and subsequent use seem to vary among disciplines 
and authors, that the ICZN Code gives no useful guide and that there 
is no commonly accepted controlled vocabulary.

My general recommendation is not to use initials in 
authorships of zoological names of taxa, in electronic environments.

University of Goettingen, Germany

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