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

Frank.Krell at dmns.org Frank.Krell at dmns.org
Mon Sep 30 12:28:34 CDT 2013

But: People will not ignore them and will designate them as they wish, as long as the Code is as it is.
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega [dyanega at ucr.edu]
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 11:25 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] When electing a neotype, how to define the other gender

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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