[Taxacom] Costelytra zealandica - Epic fail!

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Oct 15 17:10:16 CDT 2016

The situation is this: the name Costelytra zealandica has long been applied to one of the most significant insects in N.Z. This new paper has examined, for the first time, the original two syntypes from 1846, and found that they represent two different species of Costelytra, neither of which is the species known as C. zealandica. OK, but Art. 75.6 ( http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-sites/iczn/code/index.jsp?article=75 ) of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature should instead be invoked to maintain prevailing usage of the name Costelytra zealandica, and prevailing usage maintained until the Commission makes a ruling! But this has not even been considered! Instead they have taken the bold step of describing the species known as C. zealandica as a new species, Costelytra giveni! Anyway, apart from the species known as C. zealandica, all the other species in the genus are rarely collected and are in a taxonomic mess. However, even I can see that their lectotype is the same species as Costelytra symmetrica Given, 1966. This is a rarely collected species, but is quite widespread in fact, though the only published record is the holotype from eastern Bay of Plenty. I found one in suburban Auckland in 1992. Their paralectotype belongs to Given's unresolved C. brunnea complex. But that is all irrelevant to the main issue. The whole problem can be solved by application to the ICZN to designate a neotype for C. zealandica which is in accordance with prevailing usage (i.e. the species known as C. zealandica).

On Sun, 16/10/16, Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Costelytra zealandica - Epic fail!
 To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Sunday, 16 October, 2016, 10:56 AM
 Interesting that the authors say "it has not been possible
 to associate
 either of the two species represented by the syntypes with
 known species
 of Costelytra".  So there is not a useful 
 "Establishment of the identity
 ..." of the title.
 This is odd biologically - if I understand correctly
 apparently the C.
 zealandica of the syntype is not now known to exist (nothing
 to a common Wellington (= Port Nicholson) insect of 1846 has
 been found
 since anywhere in the country?). Is this likely, even given
 the extensive
 native habitat reduction over the years?
 If there was a mixup between the species known now I could
 see some need
 for reconciling application of names.
 From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 on behalf of Stephen
 Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Sent: 15 October 2016 14:41
 To: Doug Yanega; John Grehan
 Cc: taxacom
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Costelytra zealandica - Epic fail!
 Just to ensure that we are all on the same page on this:
 what the authors
 have done is to dredge up the old (1846) type material for
 what is now
 known universally as Costelytra zealandica (perhaps the most
 species name in all of N.Z. entomology!) and find that
 neither of the two
 syntypes (there could be others) that they examined actually
 are that
 species (i.e. the species  known universally as
 Costelytra zealandica). So
 they have designated one of those syntypes as lectotype
 (thereby making
 the name Costelytra zealandica definitely misidentified),
 and renamed the
 infamous pest species as a new species Costelytra giveni.
 There is no
 suggestion that they have even considered conservation of
 prevailing usage
 as an option! Big sigh! Just to rub salt in the wound, the
 preregistration for the article just consists of an AUTHOR
 record filled
 in as if it were a taxon record!
 So, overall, it is one small step for the authors, and one
 giant leap
 backwards for mankind!
 On Sat, 15/10/16, John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Costelytra zealandica - Epic fail!
  To: "Doug Yanega" <dyanega at ucr.edu>
  Cc: "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
  Received: Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 2:17 PM
 Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
 Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
 gread at actrix.gen.nz
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 Injecting Intellectual Liquidity for 29 years.

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