[Taxacom] manuscript name question

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Sat Oct 10 19:15:14 CDT 2015

This thought is philosophical, and cannot be absolutely correct, but I 
think this conversation has moved into Talmudic debate.  These tiny 
debating/niggling points ignore why we have the Code.  The Code is there 
so that we know what name to put on what species so that we have a solid 
means of communication about that entity, and that is really the only 
important test.  Does anyone have a doubt that if you catch that fly, 
you will have trouble putting the correct name on it?  The answer seems 
clearly to me to be I would be able to, even as a non-dipterist.  Only 
if someone has trouble in that activity does delving into the bowels of 
the Code become necessary. So, it seems all this stuff is really angels 
dancing on pins.


On 10/10/2015 6:07 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> As I said, these "mights" are of negligible concern, so, once again, let me state that I don't see it as problematic. It was merely a useful exercise in trying to interpret how the Code applies to cases like this, which is not an easy task! Mike may interject here and claim it to be all utterly straightforward! To be absolutely clear, I think that Steve & Neal's fly must be considered to be, if not unambiguously Code compliant, then not provably noncompliant, so it must stand.
> Stephen
> PS: I do still wonder where that holotype is now! :)
> --------------------------------------------
> On Sun, 11/10/15, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:
>   Subject: RE: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
>   To: "'Stephen Thorpe'" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, gread at actrix.gen.nz, Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   Cc: neale at bishopmuseum.org
>   Received: Sunday, 11 October, 2015, 12:57 PM
>   Yes, it "might"
>   have still been alive when the article was published.
>   And
>   it "might" have been collected
>   by someone else. And it "might" have been
>   entombed in amber. And it "might"
>   have been blown to the north pole and
>   frozen
>   in ice. And it "might" have been acquired by an
>   extraterrestrial
>   intelligent life-form
>   visiting our solar system.  But all of these things
>   are sufficiently implausible that a presumption
>   of "non-extant" can be
>   (very)
>   safely assumed.  Now, I'm not a fly expert, and I have
>   no idea what
>   the world record is for
>   longest-living fly is; but a quick Google search
>   suggests something in the range of 25-90
>   days.  The beast designated as the
>   holotype
>   was photographed (already as an adult) on 1 December 2014,
>   at an
>   elevation of only 74m in the middle of
>   the southern summer in South Africa
>   (average
>   summer temperatures 87 - 90°F; meaning shorter lifespan of
>   flies).
>   The article was published  5
>   October of this year. While the possibility
>   that the individual designated as the holotype
>   lived for an additional 308
>   days after it
>   was photographed (again, already as an adult) might be
>   greater
>   than, say, the extraterrestrial
>   abduction scenario; I think it's
>   nevertheless safe to assume that the beast
>   lived out a full fly-life and
>   finally
>   succumb to natural fly-death causes long before the paper
>   found its
>   way onto the web in published
>   form.
>   Again, while there
>   may be an "unlucky and unlikely sequence of
>   events" that
>   could perhaps cause some
>   confusion about the availability of the name
>   (depending on how you want to interpret the
>   phrase "still in existence" in
>   the
>   Code glossary); is this really an effective use of our
>   intellectual
>   capacity as taxonomists to
>   argue about?
>   Rather than
>   sniff through the Code for highly improbably
>   "gotchas" to render
>   names
>   unavailable on technicalities, shouldn't we instead be
>   focused on how
>   to craft the next edition of
>   the Code to eliminate the more substantive
>   issues we have to deal with on a regular basis?
>   To be sure, the question of
>   whether a
>   physical type specimen should be required is certainly a
>   legitimate point of discussion to have when
>   crafting the next edition of the
>   Code, and I
>   think that is certainly worthy of further discussion.
>   Reasonable minds will disagree, and that's
>   fine.
>   Aloha,
>   Rich
>   >
>   -----Original Message-----
>   > From:
>   Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
>   > Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 12:51
>   PM
>   > To: gread at actrix.gen.nz;
>   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
>   > deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
>   > Cc: neale at bishopmuseum.org
>   > Subject: RE: [Taxacom] manuscript name
>   question
>   >
>   > Hang on
>   a minute Rich. Please re-read what you wrote! If you are
>   going to
>   > count "still alive"
>   as an option for "extant specimen", then Steve
>   &
>   Neal's fly
>   >
>   might well have been still alive when they published the
>   description, in
>   which
>   >
>   case the name would be unavailable due to the lack of a
>   statement of
>   > holotype deposition for
>   what you've just said is an "extant specimen"!
>   Of
>   > course, it might be impossible to
>   prove/disprove that it was still alive
>   at
>   that
>   > time, but all I'm saying is
>   that there could be an unlucky and unlikely
>   > sequence of events which could invalidate
>   the name (e.g. someone captured
>   > it
>   after photography and kept it alive in a jar at home,
>   photographing it
>   each
>   >
>   day with a time stamp!). It is a risk, albeit a negligibly
>   small one. I'm
>   not
>   >
>   arguing against what Steve and Neal did, I'm just trying
>   to figure out
>   where
>   > any
>   weak points are, and how weak they are. What I have
>   described is the
>   > only weak point, as
>   far as I can see, so I don't think it  likely that
>   the
>   fly
>   > description
>   will prove to be problematic at all. So, it is all good.
>   >
>   > Stephen
>   >
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Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
NW corner of Lincoln and S.19th
Montana State University
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