[Taxacom] When electing a neotype, how to define the other gender

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Sep 30 12:25:57 CDT 2013

First, my apologies for not double-checking the glossary definition of 
"allotype". I knew the Code *defined* the term but did not *recognize* 
the term (in the sense that the Code does not govern them in any way), 
but I had thought - obviously mistakenly - that they were defined as 
ORIGINALLY designated specimens (therefore part of the type series - 
i.e., paratypes). The glossary, as Denis pointed out, simply says 
"designated", which does in fact allow for the possibility that they are 
not part of the type series, maybe not even designated in the original 
description! All the more reason to ignore them and dissuade present and 
future taxonomists from designating them.

On 9/30/13 8:53 AM, Frank.Krell at dmns.org wrote:
> Chris, oh well, I disagree. The current Code does not say that allotypes have nothing to do with nomenclature. It says, allotypes can be relevant for nomenclature, or not. This is not helpful. They can be relevant if they are paratypes (as name bearers in waiting, meaning preferred candidates for neotypes, if the primary type is lost). They can be irrelevant if they are not paratypes.
Frank is right about paratypes being potential neotypes but only to a 
certain degree. Recommendation 75A (to which he refers) is a TERTIARY 
criterion, not a primary criterion. The only circumstances under which 
an allotype from the type series (or any other paratype) is even 
*eligible* to become a neotype is after /two other criteria/ are 
considered: basically, there have to be NO specimens that will satisfy 
either Art. 75.3.5 or 75.3.6.

(1) under 75.3.5, a specimen of the same sex as the holotype MUST be 
selected as neotype in preference to any specimens of the opposite sex 
(only possible to counteract if the author states explicit reasons that 
use of the opposite sex as type is /necessary to maintain stability/ - 
e.g., if the species diagnosis relies upon a sex-specific trait), so 
even if a species is described only from a holotype and allotype, and 
the holotype is lost, then a non-type specimen of the same sex as the 
holotype will have preference over the allotype (Articles override 

(2) under 75.3.6, if none of the type series is from the type locality, 
then none of the type series is eligible to become neotype as long it is 
possible to obtain ANY specimens that ARE from the type locality (again, 
Articles override Recommendations). Therefore, if an allotype is going 
to become a neotype, it MUST either be from the type locality, or it 
must be impossible to obtain specimens from the type locality.

An allotype is, therefore, one of the LEAST likely specimens to become a 
neotype, unless it is literally the only specimen in existence other 
than the holotype. I've pointed out before that the primary function of 
paratypes is taxonomic, rather than nomenclatural, and I stand by that 
statement. Paratypes serve to indicate what the original author felt 
about the circumscription of the taxon (i.e., a strictly taxonomic 
function), but they have little likelihood of EVER serving as genuine 
name-bearing types, as long as 75.3.5 and 75.3.6 exist. This whole 
premise of the Code divorcing taxonomy from nomenclature is refuted by 
the inclusion of paratypes in the Code; the boundary could hardly be any 


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)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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