[Taxacom] Why stability?
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Apr 30 19:52:12 CDT 2015
I don't like this for the following reasons:
(1)One fairly minor reason I don't like it is that it might not represent Robert's opinion in 2015, even though the website was visited me in 2015. Websites don't update themselves, and tend to get updated rather infrequently. I would not want to attribute to Robert an opinion which he might no longer have!
(2)We don't know on what basis Robert identified the image. he may or may not have based it on a published treatment. We don't know!
(3)I still maintain that there may not in fact be any taxon circumscription associated with that particular name! The fact that it is up on a website is not the point here. The crucial point is that I made an ID by direct comparison to a single specimen (image). How do you get a circumscription from a single specimen? You can't!
(4)Your last para is misleading. I am confident in Robert's judgement, whatever it is based upon. It sounds a bit like you are telling me that I shouldn't be doing something! But I'm not! If I knew that Robert did ID his image using "Smith 1995", and I wasn't confident in either "Smith 1995" or Robert (or both), then I would not use either of them as sources for any IDs, at least not without clearly stating my reservations.
On Fri, 1/5/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Why stability?
To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, gaurav at ggvaidya.com
Cc: "'Taxacom'" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Received: Friday, 1 May, 2015, 12:02 PM
Gadira acerella Walker, 1866 sensu Hoare
If Hoare had himself
anchored his use of the name to a published treatment (e.g.,
Smith 1995), then you could have likewise trusted
Hoare's anchoring, and you could have represented it as
"Gadira acerella Walker, 1866 sensu Smith
matter that you never consulted Smith 1995 in your
identification, because as I and Guarav have pointed out
(Guarav much more effectively than I did), we're not
talking necessarily about what source you used to make the
identification; we're talking about what taxon
circumscription associated with that particular name
you're referring to.
you're not confident in Hoare's judgement in
following Smith 1995, then you probably shouldn't be
using Hoare as a source, and/or you probably should not be
asserting identifications of specimens based on your
consultation of that source.
> From: Stephen Thorpe
[mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 1:08 PM
> To: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org;
gaurav at ggvaidya.com
> Cc: Taxacom
Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> Here is a good example of an actual
identification (by me) in actual practice:
> When I saw the
posted photo, I immediately thought Crambidae, but I had
> absolutely no idea of genus or species,
because I am not very familiar with N.Z.
> crambids. However, the local lepidopterist
(Dr. Robert Hoare) has created an
gallery with photos of one (or two) specimen(s) of each N.Z.
> that family (possibly not
quite all of them), see:
Browsing the gallery, I found one
which, in my estimation, is a virtually perfect match
> _acerella.jpg), while none of the other
images are very close at all. Although it
> is not quite 100% certain, I am 95+%
confident that it is the same species,
which is a good enough level of certainty for most IDs
(and certainly good
> enough for this
example). Nevertheless, I still have no "taxonomic
> the species. I
simply trust Robert as a reliable source, and trust my
> judgement of what constitutes a
good match. I just don't see how to apply
> Rich's ideas to this sort of
identification - a sort that is very common.
> On Fri, 1/5/15, Gaurav Vaidya <gaurav at ggvaidya.com>
Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
"Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> Cc: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Received: Friday, 1 May, 2015, 10:53
On 30 Apr 2015, at 4:27 pm, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> > I think your confusion may stem
from not keeping in mind the dialectic
> context in which I made my comments. I
was responding to others who had
suggested that authors should always cite the publication
used for the
> identification of any
species that they mention. Basically, their motivation
> probably merely to increase
citation rates in taxonomy. My comment was
> intended to point out that, in a great
many cases, identifications are not made
> using any specific publication, even
identifications down to the species level.
> Many names do not have any well defined
"taxonomic concepts" associated
> with them, but may nevertheless be names
for distinctive species which are
easily identified by direct comparison of specimens (given
a bit of experience
> with the group).
For something of an example, I'm sure you can
> giraffe if you see one,
but you probably cannot point to any well defined
> "taxonomic concept" (or, if you
can, you didn't rely on it to make > the
> Sure you can! Rich gave an excellent
example earlier: the Mammal Species of
> the World, 3rd Edition (MSW3) checklist,
which gives you a simple definition of
a giraffe relative to other closely related taxa that you
can work with.
> In many cases, identifications may be based on a very
complex set of things,
several publications and specimens examined, which would
> easy or even possible to spell
out as "sensu ..." or "sec ..."
> example, one does use a
publication to identify a specimen, but the key may
> give a different result to the
description, and both may give a different result
> to comparing a specimen with the
illustrations in the publication. Identification
> is more of a "wholistic"
thing, taking into account all available evidence.
> your idea of citing something
like "sensu Person who identified it for me"
> wouldn't count for citation metrics,
so really isn't what this dialectic was
> originally about.
> The point here isn’t how the
identification comes about, but what name is
> being attached to it. It absolutely takes
a huge amount of skill and knowledge
to identify an individual as a giraffe, particularly if
you don’t have a whole
> animal to look
at. But when you make an identification (“voucher
> _Giraffa camelopardalis_
(Linnaeus, 1758)”), the question becomes: what do
> you mean by “Giraffa camelopardalis”
in this context? For example, do you
agree with Thomas (1901: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/35988584)
camelopardalis reticulata_ should be treated as a separate
species, or with
> the modern view that
it is a subspecies of _camelopardalis_? If at some
> date _reticulata_ is split
back out of _camelopardalis_, should voucher
> #ABC123 provisionally remain with
_camelopardalis_ sensu stricto, or should
> it be marked as “_camelopardalis_ or
_reticulata_” until it can be
reidentified? One way of doing this is to add “sensu
MSW3”, which makes it
> explicit that
you’re thinking of the _camelopardalis_ that includes
whatever the fate of these taxa will eventually be.
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