[Taxacom] Esteemed Wuster gang admit Hoser got viper taxonomy correct - 2 years later - no apology yet!

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Sat Aug 2 20:46:53 CDT 2014

On 8/2/14 1:32 AM, Raymond Hoser - The Snakeman wrote:
> Dear all,
> This is a case of taxonomic vandalism (alleged) but shown not to be so.
> Well it looks like after me (Raymond Hoser) being condemned by African 
> snake handler Bill Branch and Wolfgang Wuster for the last 2 years, 
> he's now (Branch) (without apology) come out and agreed with the 
> taxonomy of my paper published in 2012 in terms of the African viper 
> snakes of the genus Atheris.My paper:
> Hoser, R. T. 2012. A division of the African Tree Viper genus Atheris 
> Cope, 1860 into four subgenera (Serpentes:Viperidae). Australasian 
> Journal of Herpetology 12:32-35.
> in 2012 divided this spectacular group into four subgenera (note 
> subgenera and not full genera), the division of which has now also 
> been recognized in a paper Branch is listed as a co-author of that 
> came out in the last few weeks (see image here).
> Of course I am chuffed at the fact my alleged taxonomic vandalism is 
> now seen to be taxonomic accuracy.
> As it happens, when splitting the genus four ways, I was able to use 
> other people's names for three of the groups, because I comply with 
> the zoological code rules and don't just coin names to steal the work 
> of others using the reckless code defying scheme known as the "Kaiser 
> veto".
> I only named one group myself, namely Woolfvipera, being named after 
> eminent Australian herpetologist Paul Woolf.
> Will I get an apology from Wuster, Branch and the rest of the 
> name-callers?
> No way!
This is a good example of just how bogus your claims of the novelty of 
your work, and about how people are "vindicating you", really are. In 
your 2012 paper, you based all four of your subgenera directly - and 
explicitly - upon the four terminal groupsshown in Pyron et al.'s 2011 
paper. YOU did not perform a phylogenetic analysis to determine that 
these were groups, you looked at someone *else's* published phylogeny, 
and gave names to groups that THEY had found (and then tried to shoehorn 
the species they had omitted from their analysis into the resulting 
groups). Pyron et al. moved /Adenorhinus //barbouri/ into the genus 
/Atheris/ (in their Figure 2 A, as /Atheris barbouri/), and yet you 
implied in 2012 that you were making a *novel* decision that 
/Adenorhinus/ was not a valid genus ("Rather than recognize 
/Adenorh//inus/ as a genus...") - when others had ALREADY concluded that 
/Adenorhinus/ was not a genus. More to the point, however, the new paper 
(Menegon et al. 2014) contradicts Pyron et al,'s - and therefore your - 
groupings, rather than supporting them. For example, you placed 
/mabuensis/ (which Pyron did not treat) in the same subgenus as 
/matildae/, /ceratophora/, and /barbouri/ - but while the latter three 
are grouped in the new study, /mabuensis/ is entirely unrelated to them, 
and is instead related to /chloroechis/. You then grouped /desaixi/ and 
/nitschei/ together in your subgenus /Woolfvipera/ because Pyron et al. 
grouped them - and therefore got the groupings wrong, because /desaixi/ 
(which you carelessly misspelled as "/desauxi/" - your editor and 
reviewers need to be sacked!!) proves to be a member of the clade 
containing /chloroechis/ and /mabuensis/, as well, and not sister to 
/nitschei/ at all. The only way in which your classification is 
compatible with the Menegon study is that each of your four subgeneric 
type species end up in a different clade, but the *other* constituents 
of your subgenera are incompatible; in fact, three of your four 
subgenera are constituted of species *not* matching the Menegon study's 
conclusions! No small feat, given that we are talking about only 9 
species in those three subgenera. I also note that some of the described 
species are still omitted in the Menegon study, and would not be 
surprised if they also prove not to belong to the groupings to which you 
assigned them. I further note that you did not cite either the Lenk et 
al. 2001 paper which also gave a phylogeny of /Atheris/ species(they 
also grouped /barbouri/ and /ceratophora/ as a clade, as well as 
/squamigera/ and /hispida/, so those two groupings were already 
well-supported in the literature well before Pyron et al.), or the 
Wuster et al. 2008 paper on the same topic, and this is rather poor 
scholarship on your part - though one can see exactly WHY you omitted 
them: because Pyron et al. did not cite them, indicating that your 
search for phylogenies was limited to only *that one paper* and its 
reference section. Evidently, you picked one published phylogeny and 
just blindly accepted it, without even checking to see if other 
phylogenies including those taxa had been published elsewhere - i.e., 
without doing the basic, thorough research one would expect from a 
taxonomist doing legitimate revisionary work. Like I said, poor 
scholarship - and so much for "taxonomic accuracy".


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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