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

Neal Evenhuis neale at bishopmuseum.org
Wed Sep 25 13:56:31 CDT 2013

Doug and others have responded to this stating that an application can be
made to the ICZN to designate a neotype, with which I wholly agree, and
Doug has further recommended pinning the type locality as close as
possible to the original type (type series).

I would further strongly "recommend" -- as it is not discussed in the Code
-- to place that neotype in the same museum as the original type series.
This would be a good idea for most neotypes, but especially in the case of
older (i.e, 18th, 19th century) well-known zoologists. In the case of
Westwood types, Oxford is the most logical place one would look for a
Westwood type and future workers on this beetle may not know to look in
two places for the old and 'new' type material.

I'm cross-posting this to the ICZN list for the following reason:

In addition, the way Article 75.5 is written: without specification that
neotype be deposited in the same institution as the original type series
that is alleged to be poorly preserved, it opens up the potential for
abuse where a taxonomist could add more types to his or her collection by
declaring the need for neotypes because of poorly preserved collections,
while depleting types from other collections or causing confusion when a
neotype is located in another collection from where all the other types of
an author may reside (what is this was done to, say, Linnaeus types?).
Probably will never happen much but it has happened, but when you write
laws, you need to be as forward thinking as possible to all possibilities
and minimize the potential for abuse of that law. I would thuds recommend
that Article 75.5 be reworded or at least (although unfortunately
unenforceable) a Recommendation be added to it to state the best way to
preserve such neotypes would be to place them in the same depository as
the original "alleged poorly" preserved type seres.

Just a thought.


On Stardate 9/25/13 2:34 AM, "Lawrence Kirkendall"
<lawrence.kirkendall at bio.uib.no> wrote:

>I am a new member of Taxacom, so I don't know if this has been discussed
>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? The example my colleagues and I are struggling with is
>Hypothenemus eruditus Westwood (1836), a 1 mm - long species which may
>well be the most abundant and widespread bark beetle on the planet. We
>can separate a number of clades out, using a combination of molecular and
>morphological characters. Especially for such old mounted specimens,
>important diagnostic morphological characters for species in this genus
>(such the frons, or elytral puntures & setae) are frequently either
>hidden, worn, or at least partially covered with glue; in addition, old
>specimens are usually card-mounted, making even a visible frons almost
>impossile to view sufficiently well. The problem is not just with the
>syntype series for eruditus Westwood; the current catalog lists 75
>synonyms, and my suspicion is that it is going to be hopeless, trying to
>associate the clades we can (finally) now recognize with older,
>synonymized names--especially bearing in mind that the species is
>globally distributed!
>What do aphidologists or acarologists do, in a species complex, if slide
>mounts have darkened to the point where critical characters can no longer
>be discerned, assuming that sufficiently detailed drawings do not exist?
>Thanks for any advice,
>Lawrence Kirkendall
>Prof. Lawrence Kirkendall
>Department of Biology
>Univ. Bergen
>Thormøhlensgt 53a
>N-5006 Bergen, Norway
>Department of Biology
>Postboks 7803
>5020  BERGEN
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