[Taxacom] manuscript name question

Welter-Schultes, Francisco fwelter at gwdg.de
Sun Oct 11 07:42:31 CDT 2015

It seems to be necessary to modify the Code regulations around Art. 16.4.2. 

However it is necessary to keep in mind the result of al these discussions, and to make sure that the group that will once obtain the task to elaborate a new edition of the Code will remember what has been said here. Otherwise the information will be lost. The working group will probably not be able to screen all the hundreds of long long Taxacom theads for eventual suggestions concerning shortcomings in current Code Articles, that may be hidden in between.

May I first propose that "hot" nomenclatural issues are discussed in the [iczn-list], or at least that someone deposits a notice there informing that in a certain Taxacom thread such a debate is ongoing. Not all [iczn-list] members also subscribe and follow the [Taxacom] list debated.

May I also propose to select a subject title in the [Taxacom] thread that points to the nomenclatural problem of the zoological Code that is actually discussed. Under the title of the current thread it is not at all clear that issues concerning Art. 16.4.2 and zoological holotype requirements are discussed in such a deep and significant form.

For depositing information to be remembered for the next Code edition Gary installed once a Wiki, the ICZN Wiki, which has collected many suggestions of the last years to improve the next Code editions. 
In Nov 2008 I left a note there that Art. 16.4.2 should be modified, partly because of the reasons that have been developed in the current debate here. In Aug 2011 I left another note there that Frank Krell came up with some additional important thoughts in the [iczn-list] listserver. It is good to come repeatedly independently to the same results in the course of 7 years, but during a new discussion it would probably also be good to work with previously deposited information of the same topic.

Now I have left another note that right now additional points were discussed in the present Taxacom thread. For the lack of time however I have not been able to read all contributions of this thread and other long recent Taxacom threads, so if other nomenclatural topics concerning the next edition of the zoological Code were discussed, please inform me so that I can also provide links to those points in the ICZN Wiki.

Best wishes

Francisco Welter-Schultes
Zoologisches Institut
Berliner Str. 28, 37073 Goettingen
Phone +49 551 395536
Von: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]" im Auftrag von "Rosenberg,Gary [rosenberg.ansp at drexel.edu]
Gesendet: Sonntag, 11. Oktober 2015 02:49
An: Stephen Thorpe; deepreef at bishopmuseum.org; gread at actrix.gen.nz
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Betreff: Re: [Taxacom] manuscript name question

I agree with Rich Pyle that many interesting points have been raised in the parallel threads of this discussion (but I don’t agree with all sides). The discussion has zeroed in on one point that needs resolution in the fifth edition of the Code: the meaning of “extant” in Article 16.4.2. (“where the holotype or syntypes are extant specimens, by a statement of intent that they will be (or are) deposited in a collection and a statement indicating the name and location of that collection”). The glossary definition of “extant” says: “Of a specimen: still in existence.”

Does the Code mean, “a specimen known still to be in existence at the time the description was published” (which would mean Marleyimyia xylocopae is an available name) or “a specimen known to be in existence at the time the describer realized it was a new species” (which would make Marleyimyia xylocopae unavailable) or something else?

The reductio ad absurdum argument that Stephen offers is useful, and I would modify it slightly. Suppose Marshall & Evenhuis (2015) had said, “We will keep trying to capture the escaped holotype and when we do, we’ll deposit it in the Natal Museum (Pietermaritzburg)…”.  That scenario in itself is implausible (although the paper refers to “an accidentally lost type specimen that might not be collected again due to its rarity”), but what if a description of a new species of primate said, “the holotype was fitted with a transmitter and released into the wild. When it dies, the body will be recovered and deposited in …”.

The point is that whether we agree on the exact meaning of “extant”, it is clearly possible for someone to describe a species under the current Code without depositing the holotype (or syntypes) in a museum. Given that that is the case, the next edition of the Code should clarify that “extant” means “known still to be in existence at the time the description was published”.

Should the Code be modified other than clarifying the meaning of extant? Should we enumerate situations in which it is acceptable to describe a species without deposition of a holotype? Should we require an explicit statement with the original description (after 201X) why a holotype was not deposited? What reasons would be acceptable?

·         Specimen not collected because it could not be caught (perhaps due to limitations of the observation platform, e.g., with deep sea organisms);

·         Fossil not collected because of lack of tools for excavation, or because excavation would have destroyed it;

·         Specimen could not legally be collected (protected, or for lack of permits);

•     Specimen confiscated at customs (for whatever reason);

·         Specimen lost (escaped, misplaced, lost in the mail);

·         Specimen released into the wild because of conservation concerns. In this case, should the Code require at least collection of a tissue sample or a DNA swab?

Should an illustration be required if a holotype is not deposited? (The Code doesn’t require illustration, see Recommendation 16F).

Best wishes,

Gary Rosenberg

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

Drexel University

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.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list