[Taxacom] Homonymous synonyms / cosmic order

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Thu Jun 7 15:46:40 CDT 2012

The Leptolimneus Sandberger, 1875 / Leptolimnaea Swainson, 1840 
example reminds me to the Araneus / Aranea case, where it became 
obvious that the Code allows any arbitrary interpretation in such a 
case, and the Commission would not discourage that.

Araneus was the first validly established zoological name in zoology, 
and the only spider genus used by Clerck in 1757 and by Linnaeus in 
1758. Linnaeus spelled the name Aranea, included the same 
Swedish spiders in it as Clerck did, with bibliographical 
references to Clerck's 1757 work, and in addition all the world's 
other known spiders. So both names were used for exactly the same 
concept, all known spiders at the time. In Opinon 2224 (Case 3371 
from 2009) the Commission regarded Aranea as a new name, with a 
different type species. There was absolutely no need for doing so, a 
name Aranea was not needed for a taxon.

So you could say, "for those who regard Leptolimneus Sandberger, 
1875 as a new name, the type species is xxx for Leptolimneus and yyy 
for Leptolimnaea. For those who regard it as a subsequent use and 
misspelling of Leptolimnaea Swainson, 1840, the type species is zzz". 
The only solution I would see for this case is to present the two 
possible interpretations as equally valid under the Code. The 
decision in the Case 3371 has shown that both interpretations seem to 
be regarded as valid until the Commission takes a decision which 
interpretation shall be the correct one. It implies that all these 
cases need to be brought to the Commission for a decision.

The fact that the Commission took such a decision in Opinion 495 for 
all the subsequent misspellings of Lymnaea Lamarck, 1799 (Limneus 
etc.), does not imply a guideline for compound names ending 
in -limneus, -limnaea or whatever.


University of Goettingen, Germany

More information about the Taxacom mailing list