[Taxacom] "nude" Coccinellid genera?

Robert Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sat Mar 2 15:44:53 CST 2013

Doug Yanega wrote:

"The combined effect is that in the Internet Era, what used to be a 
tiny error that only maybe a dozen people in the world ever came 
across, now can be spread worldwide and find its way into thousands 
of virtual crevices from which it might never be extracted even if 
someone comes along later and fixes it. I point this out as yet 
another example showing the necessity of quality control in taxonomy, 
and why some folks such as myself are pushing to make registration of 
names mandatory in the future."

Try a search for 'Subarricrusta biconulata' (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae). It's in GBIF and the Atlas of Living Australia and possibly some derivative Web sources. Not only is the name unpublished, it never even appeared in a manuscript. It's on a museum *label*, put there many years ago by a taxonomist who was going to get around to describing and publishing, but didn't.

There might be a way for a museum to flag names like this before they get scooped up by aggregators, or even better, to avoid having them scooped up, but in this case the name sailed through, and GBIF and ALA can show you a map where the holotype male was collected, and another where the paratype male and female were picked up.

I found 'Subarricrusta biconulata' and a number of other non-existent species in an audit of the GBIF and ALA record sets for Australian millipedes (submitted). I contacted the museums concerned, they updated their databases and in the fullness of time the names will be removed from GBIF and ALA.

Until then, these and I imagine many other non-existent species will enjoy a virtual existence on the Web. Both GBIF and ALA have clearly worded warnings to users in which they disclaim responsibility for content.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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