[Taxacom] Why stability?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Apr 29 20:21:39 CDT 2015

Sorry Jason, but I was not incorrect! As I said, many (perhaps most) species are not identifiable from the literature. Most insect IDs (at least in this country) are done by somebody directly comparing specimens to already identified specimens in collections. Typically, the only thing published is a useless original description from the 1800s or something. Hence there is no publication to cite for the identification. "Experience" enters the issue because the result of comparing specimens depends on the experience of the person doing the comparison, i.e. a newbee will typically make lots of mistakes.


On Thu, 30/4/15, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
 To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015, 1:15 PM
 Sorry Stephen but this is
 incorrect. Everybody´s "experience" is a
 combination of actual experience (burning the
 midnight oil comparing
 own material against
 identified specimens in a museum or advice from
 colleagues or mentors that we have internalised
 and made our own for
 example) and
 literature. By putting your name on the I.D. label and
 the year you tell others more or less at what
 stage of your experience
 you where at when
 you attached the label. The "sec" is to indicate
 which authors you rely on (let´s face
 it, nobody is an expert in every
 group). For
 example, in Europe if you work on scarabs you rely on
 Baraud and Balthasar most of the time. In 50
 years we may have
 different ones but it
 would be helpful to know which one you owned or
 used most often or a that time. As a practical
 example think of
 Aphodius fimetarius. Since
 2001 I write "sensu Wilson 2001" to make it
 clear that the concept I am using acknowledges
 the specific
 distinctiveness of pedellus.
 As to citing the authority, I
 see it as part of the binomial. It makes
 communication more accurate.
 On 30 April 2015 at 01:15, Stephen Thorpe
 <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 > What Mary said is, IMHO,
 somewhat mixed up and confused! One should cite the authors
 of the original combination primarily for nomenclatural (not
 taxonomic reasons). Botany confuses the issue by making
 combinations a nomenclatural matter. Zoology treats them
 (almost entirely) as taxonomic. The "reference used for
 the identification" is another matter altogether. Most
 IDs published in ecological studies are done by people
 ("experts"), who, like myself, identify taxa based
 more on experience/memory with relevant collections and
 familiarity with the local fauna, rather than by way of a
 specific publication. Many species can only be identified by
 a historical chain of IDs, hopefully involving comparision
 to the type at some stage along the way. They cannot be
 identified from the literature.
 > Stephen
 > On Thu, 30/4/15, Mary Barkworth <Mary.Barkworth at usu.edu>
 >  Subject:
 Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
 >  To:
 "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>,
 "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 >  Received: Thursday, 30 April, 2015,
 10:51 AM
 >  IMO. It
 is not the lack
 >  of a catchy name that
 has prevented the practice of citing
 the reference used for identification in giving a
 >  name but the insistence by
 taxonomists that one should cite
 >  the
 original author(s) of the combination and that this
 >  provides accuracy of interpretation. It
 was not until the
 >  Vienna Botanical
 Congress of 2005 (or thereabouts) that the
 >  wording the botanical code read "In
 >  particularly those
 dealing with taxonomy and nomenclature,
 >  it **may** be desirable, even when no
 >  reference to the
 protologue is made, to cite the author(s)
 >  of the name concerned ...". Before
 that it read as if
 >  one always had to
 cite the authors - and all journal and
 >  book editors wanted the works they
 published seen to be good
 >  science so
 they required citation of the original authors
 >  and people that became faculty said it
 was necessary too.
 >  So we have to change a culture. That
 >  always difficult.  I have been
 told I do not understand
 >  nomenclature
 for  arguing that one should cite the
 >  reference used to determine the name (a
 flora or some such).
 >  The objections
 that I have heard are that someone is simply
 >  using the name they were told by someone
 else or that they
 >  know the plant so
 well they do not know whether it has ever
 >  had another concept, or that they are
 using the concept they
 >  have
 >  One reason I like the
 >  Symbiota data entry form is that it
 provides for citing the
 >  reference
 used (although perhaps it should be visible by
 >  default?) but taxonomists have spent
 decades convincing
 >  people that, to be
 good science, the original authors of
 scientific names should be cited. We should not be
 >  if it takes a similar
 length of time to change the practice.
 >  Do those of you that are journal editors
 ask for information
 >  as to the
 reference used for an identification or for the
 >  original authors of the combination.
 >  Mary
 >  Taxacom Mailing List
 >  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.eduhttp://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >  The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may
 >  searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >  Celebrating 28
 years of
 >  Taxacom in 2015.
 Taxacom Mailing List
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 Celebrating 28 years of
 Taxacom in 2015.

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