[Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it moves genus?

James K Adams jadams at daltonstate.edu
Mon Jun 18 20:58:17 CDT 2012


         I missed many a message at the beginning of this thread and I've only read snippets of the more recent ones, so excuse me if I am repeating myself.

         I work with moths, and the phylogenetic understanding of this LARGE group of insects changes as we get a more complete morphological and molecular understanding.  I, for one, would HATE to see the names remain the same as our understanding evolves.  I find it hard to fathom that anyone would want the names to in turn MISrepresent the evolutionary relationships of the very organisms we study.  In moths, there are so many species that if you left the names as they were, say, in the Hodges checklist of moths of America North of Mexico (1983), so many things would now be in the wrong genus, but worse, in the wrong subfamily or even family in some cases.  The Lacturidae is a newly erected family that has even changed superfamilies.  As Doug said, it is completely arbitrary to pick a date to "stop" changing names, and it will almost always be so, because our understanding will continue to evolve.  Will we get to a point where our understanding is flawless?  It'd be nice, but there'll be plenty going on in some groups 500 years from now (if there is still taxonomic funding or anyone even cares at that point).  I find it simply ridiculous to leave something with a genus name when it clearly belongs elsewhere.  My two cents worth.


James K. Adams
Professor of Biology, Dalton State College
706-272-4427; 678-767-5938
visit the Georgia Lepidoptera website at

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