[Taxacom] Use of geographic range data as diagnostic characters

Karl Magnacca kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu
Mon Feb 18 13:48:22 CST 2013

Derek Sikes <dssikes at alaska.edu> wrote:
> Thanks to all who replied. All very helpful, especially Francisco &
> Doug's elaborations on the code!
> I was indeed interested in what the code states about the validity
> of locality data as a means to make a name available, in addition to
> the more general situation in which a species is later determined
> to be essentially undiagnosible without the use of locality data
> (post description).

I know of at least one monograph where the author's description
consisted solely of (only slightly paraphrased) "This species is
completely indistinguishable from the previous one, but since they
occur on different islands and all the taxa in this group are island
endemics, I'm describing it as a separate species."  This was done
for three pairs of species, IIRC, which rather breaks down the idea
that all must be island endemics.

Presumably these names would be invalid, but many of the species in
this work are undiagnosible (or at least extremely difficult,
especially without the type specimens) for a variety of other
reasons anyway, so I expect a revision taking care of them isn't in
the near future.

Karl Magnacca
Research Entomologist
Division of Forestry & Wildlife

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