[Taxacom] manuscript name question

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sat Oct 10 19:43:03 CDT 2015

Hi Geoff,

Thanks, and I do understand where you are coming from.  However, there is a
reason why Art. 16.4.2 (Chapter 4) includes the phrase "where the holotype
or syntypes are extant specimens".  If it was a requirement for all new
species-group names to indicate the name and location of the intended
collection for deposition of the type specimen, then there would have been
no need to include that phrase within the Article.  At the 2007 ICZN
Commissioners meeting in Washington DC, we discussed this issue at length.
As I recall, there was universal agreement that the Code did allow for
establishing new species-group names on the basis of "non-extant" specimens.
What we focused on primarily during that discussion was whether that
"should" be so, and if not, how to change the Code accordingly.  Ultimately,
the realization that there are certain circumstances (deep-sea invertebrates
that disintegrate when brought to the surface, highly endangered species,
cases where a clearly new species is clearly diagnosable in the absence of a
physical specimen, and where physical specimens are unlikely to be acquired
anytime soon) where it serves the best interests of the scientific community
to allow new names for things that do not have "extant" type specimens, led
to the decision NOT to amend the Code to require that the types of newly
established names be "extant".

If I understand you correctly, you are interpreting the Code that Art 73
applies only to names established after 1999 (when indication of the
intended name and location of the type depository collection became a
requirement)?  I can see the logic in that argument, but what I can't see is
anything in the Code that suggests that this Article is restricted only to
post-1999 names. For example, Art. 72.3. makes an explicit reference to
names established after 1999. Likewise, Art. similarly applies
explicitly to name established after 1999. In the absence of any such
qualification related to Art 73.1 or its sub-articles, the articles are
applicable to all names (not just post-1999 names).

The point is, even by Art 16.4.2 (which we seem to agree unambiguously
refers to newly established names), the requirement for indication of
intended type collection is limited to extant specimens.  Thus, the only
question is whether the type of M. xylocopae might still be regarded as
"extant".  Stephen has made the case that it's *possible* (but very
unlikely) that the type may indeed still be "extant"; and if it were later
discovered that it was in fact extant at the time of the publication (or
later), there might be a question of availability on technical grounds.  But
until such time that the organism depicted in this image:
http://bdj.pensoft.net/showimg.php?filename=oo_59276.jpg is demonstrated to
be extant, it seems to me to be clearly is in keeping with BOTH the letter
AND the intention of the ICZN Code that the name Marleyimyia xylocopae
should be "unambiguously" (in my mind, at least) regarded as available. 


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences | Associate Zoologist in
Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu,
HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Geoffrey Read [mailto:gread at actrix.gen.nz]
> Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 1:51 PM
> To: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
> Rich,
> I see chapter 16 as advice for taxonomists looking at prior work. Advice
> taxonomists creating new taxa is in chapter 4 on availability. If
> are code compliant the permission to do this should be in chapter 4. Maybe
> this will be in the next code, but this current code doesn't allow it.
> I totally agree with you that 73.1.4 applies to looking at existing types
> thus, I maintain, NOT to when new taxa are being created.  As Moser said,
> deals with a type now missing, but happily the situation is recoverable
> somewhat because the original author also indicated it was the type he had
> illustrated, and we now get what information we can from the drawing.  The
> article shouldn't be used for new taxa. That is the lifting out of context
> unfortunate now-convenient wording) that people are uneasy with.
> Geoff
> On Sun, October 11, 2015 6:22 am, Richard Pyle wrote:
> > OK, as the originator of the "unambiguous" quote, I feel compelled to
> > reply.  Let me rephrase my original comment as:
> >
> > "The description of M. xylocopae is about a unambiguously compliant
> > with the Code as any description of a new taxon can be."
> >
> > Nothing in the Code is absolutely unambiguous ... in the sense that
> > nothing in the universe is absolutely unambiguous.
> >
> > I read Markus Moser's letter, and as impassioned as the argument is,
> > it runs contrary to what is actually written in the Code.  The way the
> > Code is written, sub-articles inherit the context of their parent
> > The parent article for Art. 73.1.4 is Art. 73.1, which reads:
> > A holotype is the single specimen upon which a new nominal species-group
> > taxon is based in the original publication".   The phrase "in the
> > publication" is about as unambiguous as the Code gets.  If the
> > provisions of Art 73.1.4 were intended to apply to subsequent type
> > designations, it would have been in a section dealing with Neotypes
> > and Lectotypes; not Holotypes.
> >
> > So ... use of 73.1.4 in the description of  M. xylocopae is in no way
> > a distortion of the intent of the Article.
> >
> > Whether or not this article is "relevant" to this species (per
> > Stephen's
> > comment) is open to debate, but I do see his point.  However, I still
> > think it is relevant; although Art. 72.5.6 is probably more directly
> > relevant.
> >
> > Aloha,
> > Rich
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On
> Behalf
> >> Of Geoff Read
> >> Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 5:55 PM
> >> To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question
> >>
> >>
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> Although there is clearly a group who believe that the fly photo
> >> description "was unambiguously Code-compliant" under the current
> >> code, this is not correct.
> >>
> >> Read again Markus Moser's eletter "Holotypic ink" in Science from
> >> 2005 (a response to a comment and response about the Mangabey
> monkey
> >> picture, under the doi
> >> http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.309.5744.2163c
> >>
> >>
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5744/2163.3/reply#sci_el_2652?s
> >> id=deb7fe6e-5527-45a6-b6f7-af1120d2750c
> >>
> >> Use of 73.1.4 for new taxa is a distortion of the article's intention
> >> which "...
> >> clearly refers to established species of which the types got lost
> >> somehow or are missing"

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