[Taxacom] ICZN query

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Dec 16 15:47:29 CST 2013

On 12/15/13 10:33 PM, Bob Mesibov wrote:
> A millipede name published in 1924 was based on a single male and a single female specimen, syntypes. I would like to make the male specimen the lectotype and the female the paralectotype.
> The author dissected the male, mounted the diagnostic parts on a slide and deposited the slide in Museum A. The rest of the body was left in alcohol in Museum B.
> My reading of section 72.5 of the Code is that both 'parts' of the one animal are eligible to be name-bearing types, and that the lectotype can be the slide plus the alcohol material. I could state this formally as 'The lectotype consists of slide such-and-such in Museum A and alcohol sample such-and-such from Museum B, being parts of the one type specimen.'
> Can anyone refer me to a similar case?
If they are parts of the same animal then they are just disarticulated 
bits of the type specimen - there is still only one type specimen, 
however many parts it may be broken into, and however many repositories 
those parts may be distributed among. There are no restrictions in the 
Code in this matter, and not many articles even make reference to types 
being disarticulated. Art. 17.3, 72.5, and 73.1.5 are among them. 
However, the one thing which IS relevant is that if the type specimen is 
broken into separate components prior to its formal description, then 
the original author (and ONLY the original author) determines which 
components are part of the type. Components can only later be excluded 
if they can be shown to not actually be parts of the same organism (Art. 

So, you are entirely correct; you, in being the author designating the 
lectotype, can designate the slide only, the vial only, or both. 
Obviously, if only the male genitalia are diagnostic, the slide MUST be 
used, at the very least, or any other author could come along and 
invalidate your type designation as not allowing for recognition of the 


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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