[Taxacom] Bibliographic References

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Mon Oct 22 17:23:02 CDT 2012

As said in previous mails, I accepted Fittkau's reference to Tokunaga 1937
as bibliographic.

Fittkau 1962 did not give a differential description him or herself, so
this job was forwarded to Tokunaga 1937:

13.1.2. be accompanied by a bibliographic reference to such a published
(= "a description or definition that states in words characters that are
purported to differentiate the taxon", Art. 13.1.1)

Either the statement was intentionally differential or not. You cannot
say, in Fittkau's eyes it was intentionally differential, in Tokunaga's
eyes not. Fittkau did not even give an explicit statement that and why
s/he regarded Takunaga's description as differential. Perhaps Fittkau did
not even regard Tokunaga's description at all as differential and
classified Tokunaga's taxon only with a different species because of the
geographical range given by Tokunaga, which would not fit into the range
known for the Linnean species. Or because of the different environment.
Nothing was said, nothing can be known.

The "purported" refers to Tokunaga, not to Fittkau, because Fittkau did
not give an explicit statement in this concern.

I did not see the 1937 paper either. If Tokunaga wrote "my taxon can be
distinguished from the other taxon by these and these characters, but I
don't like to give it a new name now", then the reference would lead to
"such a statement". But the usual workflow in such sensu names is that
authors just misidentified a species and did not provide such a
differential description. I have assumed that this was the case here. If
Tokunaga provided a clearly intentionally differential description, then
Fittkau's name would be available. But it appears that this was not so,
and also Fittkau's notes do not suggest that very accurate work was done

Fittkau could have written "take Tokunaga's description, I regard the blue
colour reported by Tokunaga as differentiating the new taxon from the
Linnean species", then Fitkau would have done the job. But Fittkau just
wrote nothing. Doing nothing is always a bad solution if one's job is to
comply with the Code's provisions, the more so after 1960.


> Well, that statement runs the risk of adding to the confusion, so better
> to say this:
> For a new name to be available from Fittkau (1962), Fittkau (1962) has to
> give a description (either directly or indirectly via bibliographic ref.)
> which *he* (i.e. Fittkau) purports to differentiate between the relevant
> taxa. The last bit has nothing to do with Tokunaga! The biblio. ref. to
> Tokunaga is just "shorthand" for the actual description (by Tokunaga) ...
> Stephen
> ________________________________
> From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; Francisco Welter-Schultes
> <fwelter at gwdg.de>
> Cc: Bohdan Bilyj <biotax at primus.ca>; "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu"
> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, 23 October 2012 10:34 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Bibliographic References
> To be really pedantic -- and that's what Codes are all about ....
> Art. 13.1.2 does not state "where" or "when" those characters can be used
> to "purport to differentiate"! It merely says "... states in words
> characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon". Without a
> specifying phrase such as "in that work", those characters could be used
> to differentiate the taxon anyplace and anytime.
> ... and that is exactly what Fittaku did in 1962 .....
> -N
> On 10/22/12 11:22 AM, "Stephen Thorpe"
> <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>> scribbled
> the following tidbit:
> Neal,
> Francisco's point appears to be this:
> If I give a (re)description of what I (mis)identify as Aus bus, then,
> obviously, my description does not differentiate between the species I
> have before me and Aus bus. This is true to the point of "bleedin'
> obviousness", but is quite irrelevant! If you then come along and name a
> new species Aus cus, giving my description as a bibliographic reference,
> then *you* are using *my* description to differentiate my species (Aus
> cus) from Aus bus...
> Stephen
> From: Neal Evenhuis
> <neale at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:neale at bishopmuseum.org>>
> To: Francisco Welter-Schultes <fwelter at gwdg.de<mailto:fwelter at gwdg.de>>;
> Stephen Thorpe
> <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>>
> Cc: Bohdan Bilyj <biotax at primus.ca<mailto:biotax at primus.ca>>;
> "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>"
> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
> Sent: Tuesday, 23 October 2012 10:16 AM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Bibliographic References
> On 10/22/12 10:36 AM, "Francisco Welter-Schultes"
> <fwelter at gwdg.de<mailto:fwelter at gwdg.de><mailto:fwelter at gwdg.de<mailto:fwelter at gwdg.de>>>
> scribbled the following tidbit:
> Tokunaga cannot have given a differential description in relation to the
> nominal species s/he misidentified. Such is the nature of a sensu name.
> Why not?
> There are innumerable cases of works naming a new species for a
> misidentified species and (without checking) assume that there are
> probably a lot of cases like Fittakau (1962) in naming a new species by
> bibliographic reference and pointing to the misidentification in a
> previously published work for those characters needed for the species. The
> fact the Tokunaga gives characters and says it is a previously named
> species does not negate the fact he is giving characters to differentiate.
> He is not explicitly differentiating the species he identified but has
> given characters that indeed can be used to differentiate -- as Fittakau
> has proven!
> In another interpretation of 13.1.2 when looking for definitions of the
> words used there: "purport to differentiate" actually means "falsely
> profess" to differentiate. Look up the definition of "purport". It is not
> explicitly to profess, but more commonly, it is to falsely profess. Which
> is exactly what Toknaga has done. He has given characters that he thought
> were of a previously described taxon that could be used to differentiate
> it from other species. However, he was wrong, thus he falsely professed to
> differentiate that species by misidentifying it.
> My 2 cents.
> -Neal
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Francisco Welter-Schultes
Zoologisches Institut, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Goettingen
Phone +49 551 395536

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