[Taxacom] ICZN loophole? - no originally included species

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 11:08:52 CDT 2014

The genera in question have been cited in synonymies and lists.  From time
to time (at least as recently as the 1980's), someone speculates on their
identity.  At least one author tried to get rid of one of them by
designating one of the nude species as type, but this is not legal by
modern rules.

What I plan to do is to deal with one name when I get around to writing up
the group that I think it belongs to, and draw attention of someone working
on the most plausible family for the other.  The name that I would be in a
position to tackle further seems likely to apply to a group that is not
currently recognized as a distinct genus, but molecular data suggest that
it does significantly diverge from the type.  A genus name definitely
applying to the group exists, but buried in synonymy.  There are questions
about the credibility and sanity of the authors of both the genus without
valid type and the potential later synonym.

On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 6:44 PM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>

> David,
> I don't see a problem here. If an old (<1930) genus group name was
> established without included species, then either:
> (1) there already are subsequently included species, or (2) there aren't
> any to date. While (2) seems unlikely, it could happen, so I think you are
> saying that some unscrupulous person could be the first to include a
> species, in fact any animal at all, and would thereby fix the type species
> by subsequent monotypy, and could thereby gain priority (for the original
> author) for a well known taxon. However, the genus would not have been used
> as valid since it was established (at leat this is very unlikely, since
> there were no included species), so Art. 23.9 would easily solve the
> problem (and, if not, an application to the Commission would certainly be
> successful!)...
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> On Mon, 28/7/14, David Campbell <pleuronaia at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Subject: [Taxacom] ICZN loophole? - no originally included species
>  To: "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>  Received: Monday, 28 July, 2014, 10:24 PM
>  In reviewing available names for a
>  particular family, I find a couple of
>  genera from the early 1800's that are validly proposed, but
>  have no validly
>  included species.  Thus, whatever valid species is
>  first included will
>  define the genus.  The genera have brief descriptions
>  and include nude
>  species.  I am pondering whether specifying a type
>  species will be useful
>  to stabilize nomenclature.  The difficulty is that the
>  names are early
>  enough that they would displace almost any name in use for
>  species likely
>  to be originally intended.  Thus, for stability these
>  genera would only be
>  useful to validate in the context of recognizing a
>  genus-level taxon not in
>  current use.
>  However, if I were to disregard recommendations about
>  stability, my
>  reputation as a taxonomist, etc., there doesn't seem to be
>  anything legally
>  preventing me from causing trouble by selecting any animal
>  (s.l.) I like
>  and making it the type.  Legal type designations do not
>  have to conform to
>  the type description.  I think this is a good idea, to
>  avoid arguments over
>  how well a given species fits the original genus
>  description.    But it
>  does seem unreasonable to be able to use something with no
>  resemblance
>  whatsoever to the original description.  For example,
>  probably no one would
>  be happy if I took a genus originally intended for a snail
>  and tried to use
>  it to pre-empt Drosophila or Tyrannosaurus.  No doubt
>  the name would get
>  suppressed if an attempt like that were made, but it would
>  be a nuisance in
>  the meantime.
>  --
>  Dr. David Campbell
>  Assistant Professor, Geology
>  Department of Natural Sciences
>  Box 7270
>  Gardner-Webb University
>  Boiling Springs NC 28017
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>  Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.

Dr. David Campbell
Assistant Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

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