[Taxacom] Generic type of large genus belongs in different genus
dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Apr 10 18:02:36 CDT 2013
On 4/10/13 3:23 PM, Roderic Page wrote:
> Dear Doug,
> I confess ignorance regarding the ICZN code, but I'm not aware that it
> mandates that congeneric species be, in fact, related.
> I'm not advocating abandoning the code, rather (and I am regretting
> ever opening my mouth) I am simply asking whether changing names to
> fit a classification is worth the decline in our ability to find
> information about that taxon. From my perspective we are trading
> information retrieval against a crude tool to represent relationships.
> Given that we have better ways of representing relationship than genus
> + species, maybe we should ponder leaving names alone. Taking
> Drosophila melanogaster as an example, I see no reason to change its
> name, no matter where it goes on the fly tree.
The Code mandates that a species name be combined with the name of the
genus it is placed in (which does not necessarily mean it is related to
the other members of that group - just that they are *placed in* the
same genus-level group). One would at least hope that a competent
taxonomist would place things into genera based on hypotheses of
relationship, otherwise it might have a little trouble passing peer
review. Be that as it may, if a taxonomist moves melanogaster into a
different genus, it MUST take the new combination with that genus name.
If nowhere else, this is spelled out in Art. 48 - if two species are
congeneric then they must, by definition, be combined with the same
genus name. If placement changes, a name MUST change; any proposal to
allow combinations to be fixed violates the Code, so advocating this
approach is the same as advocating against the Code.
Just because a phylogeny might be a more effective representation of
relationships doesn't mean you can insert a phylogeny into a printed
textbook, or newspaper, or field guide, *every time* a scientific name
is printed NOR can you insert a phylogeny every time a person says a
scientific name on TV, in a movie, or on the radio. Your idea won't work
for all contexts, and we unfortunately have to accommodate the "lowest
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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