[Taxacom] unrecognizable species, what to do...

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 25 13:32:22 CDT 2013

Hi again Lawrence,
       I agree with Doug.  Definitely apply to the International Commission.  And I didn't realize that H. eruditus is the type species of the genus, so that is another reason not to declare it a nomen dubium.  

> Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 09:19:16 -0700
> From: dyanega at ucr.edu
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] unrecognizable species, what to do...
> On 9/25/13 5:34 AM, Lawrence Kirkendall wrote:
> > I am a new member of Taxacom, so I don't know if this has been discussed recently.
> >
> > As I understand it, one cannot normally designate a neotype when types can be found. But what do you do when your species, described in the 19th century, turns out to be a species complex, and because of the poor condition of the syntypes one cannot safely attribute any particular individual to any of the clades you can now recognize as separate species?
> Speaking as an ICZN Commissioner, there's no rule that a neotype can't 
> be designated if types still exist. Your situation is exactly why 
> Article 75.5 exists; you write an application to the Commission 
> explaining why the extant type(s) are inadequate, focusing on how 
> important the name in question happens to be (VERY important, in your 
> case), and ask that the Commission uses its plenary powers to set aside 
> the existing type(s) in favor of a neotype (which must fulfill all the 
> criteria listed under Art. 75.3).
> A very important criterion under 75.3 is that a neotype MUST originate 
> from "as nearly as practicable to the original type locality" - failure 
> to comply with this means that if anyone later obtains a specimen that 
> is from a closer site, then they can have your neotype set aside and put 
> their own in place. If the original type locality was vague, then your 
> application should give any and all argumentation and evidence that 
> might narrow down that original locality (e.g., "The collector of the 
> syntype series never set foot outside of Sweden"), and then you would 
> select a neotype from a compatible site - at that point, your more 
> refined locality becomes the NEW type locality (see Art. 76.3). Note 
> also that if you determine that the only species that occurs at the type 
> locality is NOT the taxon presently recognized under that name, you can 
> invoke Art. 75.6 to re-assign the name to the correct taxon, even if 
> it's from a different locality.
> My point is that you have a lot of options available to you, all 
> designed for stability's sake. The final point is that if you believe 
> that genetic differentiation is going to be a crucial issue, then make 
> sure that your neotype has been definitively sequenced.
> If you read a few issues of the BZN you'll find many cases invoking Art. 
> 75.5, and you can use one of those as a template. The BZN and Code are 
> both online at http://iczn.org/
> -- 
> 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)
> http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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