[Taxacom] Generic type of large genus belongs in different genus

Alan Harvey aharvey at georgiasouthern.edu
Sun Apr 7 12:52:17 CDT 2013


This is probably a straightforward issue, but I haven't dealt with
nomenclatural issues for a while and I seem to keep getting lost in the

Several years ago, I discovered that, along with three other species, the
type species for a large, worldwide genus (well over 100 species) clearly
didn't belong in the same genus as the others. Unfortunately, the type
species itself  is relatively unknown, and two of its three relatives were
as yet undescribed, whereas the genus s.l. contains many common, well
studied species.

Well, I changed my research focus without ever dealing with this issue.
Recently, however, I found that one of these species (not the generic type,
though) was placed, without comment, into a new genus erected to solve a
different problem involving taxa on the other side of the planet.

So if the placement of "my" species into this new genus is correct, then we
have a small, distinct genus that should contain the type species of a
different, much larger genus (actually, we had this problem before, but now
the small genus unfortunately has a name!).

It seems to me that a strict interpretation of the Code says that the
original genus name should be drastically restricted to the handful of
species related to the original type species, and that the other 100+
species should get a different name. In addition to the "*Brontosaurus*"
problem, though, there's no reason to assume that all these other species
represent a monophyletic group, so it's not clear that giving them all some
other generic name is correct either (and I don't foresee a monographic
treatment of this genus anytime soon!).

Any suggestions as to how this should best be handled?

Thanks very much!


Alan Harvey
Professor of Biology and Curator of the Herbarium
President, Georgia Entomological Society
Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA 30460-8042
(912) 478-5784
fax (912) 478-0845

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