[Taxacom] Formation of family names e.g. Diplogasteridae vs. Diplogastridae in Nematoda (and similar)

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Mon Nov 2 15:07:28 CST 2015

On 11/1/15 11:08 PM, Tony Rees wrote:
> Dear all,
> I am trying to reach a decision which form of the family Diplogast[e]ridae
> in Nemataoda, based on the genus Diplogaster, I should use in my database.
The Code is explicit:

"29.5. Maintenance of current spellings. If a spelling of a family-group 
name was not formed in accordance with Article 29.3 but is in prevailing 
usage, that spelling is to be maintained, whether or not it is the 
original spelling and whether or not its derivation from the name of the 
type genus is in accordance with the grammatical procedures in Articles 
and 29.3.2 

It literally DOES NOT MATTER which spelling is "correct". All that 
matters is which spelling, as of the year 2000 (when this edition of the 
Code was put in force), was the *predominant* spelling.

The reason to specify the year 2000 as a cut-off is simple enough: if 
spelling A was dominant as of 2000, when the new Code came out, then 
spelling B was *at that point* no longer Code-compliant. Authors 
continuing to use spelling B after 2000 were - whether intentionally or 
unintentionally - violating the Code, and you can't "overrule" the Code 
simply by violating it repeatedly until your error attains numerical 
superiority. That's called "gaming the system", and if it worked that 
way, it would defeat the entire purpose of that Article (and similar 

Unfortunately, lots of taxonomists are completely unaware of Article 
29.5 (and several other "prevailing usage" Articles that were only 
introduced in the 2000 edition of the Code), and assume that spellings 
always have to be "corrected". People got tired of revisionist pedantry, 
changed the Code to prevent it, and yet there are people who still do it.


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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