[Taxacom] parts of type specimens = availability

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Mon Dec 16 15:59:07 CST 2013


There are two aspects here.

First, the community ONLY needs to know where the parts are. And, yes, that 
those parts are well curated and available to the Scientific community.

Second, this is not an unusual situation given the past.

It has been a COMMON practice to allow the authors / describers of new 
species to keep part of the type series when there were multiple specimens.

But what is not well known, is that in some cases authors were allow to keep 
part of SPECIMENS. That is, the original author as in this case dissected 
the critical parts (male genitalia, etc.) and mounted them on a microscope 
slide which he kept.

Charles Paul Alexander, who described more than 10,000 species of crane 
flies, frequently when he had an unique specimen from another museum kept 
half of that specimen for his personal collection. That was a slide of the 
wing and if a male, the genitalia.

His collection is now at the Smithsonian. And in some cases, we have 
returned the parts of holotypes he retained to the original museum. But in 
other case, we have not as some of the collections now longer exist, etc.

The critical question ALWAYS is what is the best place for types to insure 
the widest availability for the future generations of scientists who will 
want to check the past.



-----Original Message----- 
From: Michael A. Ivie
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2013 3:55 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] ICZN query

Surely in such a case, responsible curators at the 2 museums would agree
to reunite this specimen's parts, and it should be either easy to figure
out who should house it, or flip a coin.  Our community does usually get
along pretty well.

On 12/16/2013 1:35 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> The Zoological Code is a bit vague on the distinction between specimen and 
> individual, since these things usually coincide. I don't think that Art. 
> 72.5 is about this sort of case. I think it just means that if you only 
> have part of an individual (i.e. an incomplete specimen), then the 
> holotype can be that part. I suspect, however, that you can jump either 
> way and get away with it (i.e. slide only, or both slide and rest of body)
> Stephen
> ________________________________
> From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
> To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Monday, 16 December 2013 7:33 PM
> Subject: [Taxacom] ICZN query
> 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?


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at montana.edu

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