[Taxacom] Problem with authors of taxa

Pekka Lehtinen pekleh at utu.fi
Sun Aug 13 05:46:57 CDT 2017

Stefano Taiti kirjoitti 13.8.2017 klo 10:17:
> Dear all,
> I would like to point out a problem with the authors of new taxa when 
> these are only part of  the authors of the paper in which the new taxa 
> are described.
> In a paper by Crandall  & De Grave on "An updated classification of 
> the freshwater crayfishes (Decapoda: Astacidea) of the world, with a 
> complete species list" published this week in the Journal of 
> Crustacean Biology (on line) (see 
> <https://academic.oup.com/jcb/article/doi/10.1093/jcbiol/rux070/4060680/An-updated-classification-of-the-freshwater>https://academic.oup.com/jcb/article/doi/10.1093/jcbiol/rux070/4060680/An-updated-classification-of-the-freshwater 
> ) at p. 7 they write:
> This follows
> a strict interpretation of Article 50 (ICZN, 1999) in that merely 
> citing an
> author's name after a new species name does not make it explicit enough
> that the description is solely by that/those person(s). Rather, it 
> requires either
> a specific statement to that effect, or as is common in older 
> literature, a clear
> line of evidence that parts of the article were written by, and can 
> thus be
> formally attributed to a person(s) other than the author(s) of the 
> article.
> For example, we attribute Cambarus setosus to Faxon & Garman in Garman,
> 1889, rather than just Faxon alone, as listed in Hobbs (1974b). This 
> problem
> is not restricted to older literature as often thought, with for example,
> Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & Araujo (2016) describing "Parastacus fluviatilis
> Ribeiro & Buckup sp. nov." and "Parastacus caeruleodactylus Ribeiro & 
> Araujo
> sp. nov." By following Ng (1994), the citation of these names becomes far
> less cumbersome, for example P. fluviatilis Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & 
> Araujo
> (2016) rather than P. fluviatilis Ribeiro & Buckup in Ribeiro, Buckup, 
> Gomes
> & Araujo (2016). We accept that this is not how Article 50 is 
> uniformly interpreted
> across the zoological community and others may disagree. Because
> all other compilations in the taxonomy of decapods have followed this 
> format,
> it seems logical to employ the same rule to bring the crayfish taxonomic
> literature in line with the prevailing viewpoint in decapod 
> nomenclature."
> The interpretation of the Art. 50 of the ICZN by these authors seems 
> to be peculiar since in the cited papers it is quite explicit (it is 
> written!) that the authors of the new species are only some and not 
> all the authors of the paper (see also Recommendation 50A).
> Since nowadays it is quite common to see examples like those reported 
> above, I am wondering which is the right way to cite the authors of 
> these species. If anyone can interpret Art. 50 as they prefer, it will 
> be a real mess.
> Any opinion on this case will be appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Stefano Taiti
Dear  Stefano and the whole taxacom-people,
          As a longtime commissioner of ICZN I have an undoubted and 
clear solution to this problem. The contents of the Art 50 have not 
changed within the last 17 years.   If in an article or a book with 
several authors A TAXON IS DESCRIBED by only some or a  part or the 
authors  of the article/book, then it is ABSOLUTELY ENOUGH  BY LISTING 
THE ACTUAL AUTHORS after the name of the taxon IN THE BEGINNING OF THE 
DESCRIPTION to confirm the correct authorship. When the new taxon is 
cited several times in that article IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO CITE THE 
AUTHORSHIP(S) anymore. In practice, it is also possible that a 
description of a new taxon by an author, WHO IS NOT ONE OF THE AUTHORS 
OF THE ARTICLE/BOOK can be published in such context. As far as I know 
(of course, restricted to the groups, in which I have personally worked, 
with addition of cases treated by the Commission!), this is rather rare, 
but possible in my  (I DARE TO BELIEVE: CORRECT) interpretation of the 
Code. There is no need to SEPARATELY EXPLAIN the list of authors of the 
new taxon. I hope that this comment will help also the colleagues 
working with Crustacea. If you would prefer different solution, THE ONLY 
this suggestion MUST ALSO BE ACCEPTED BY THE COMMISSION, before a 
different practice can be applied. The text in Art. 50 is not unclear in 
any way, but this is not the first time, when this kind of following  
"so called traditions" has been preferred in taxonomy of some groups. 
Actually I am personally quite surprised about the presence of this 
problem in Crustacea, as I have long worked also with terrestrial Isopoda.
         I am afraid that defective understanding of the currently valid 
rules is now one of the most serious problems in zoological 
INTERPRETATION has been repeatedly used by several taxonomists, this is 
not enough for general change of the rules - an officially accepted 
change IN ANY DETAIL of the rules can be made only by  CORRECT (even 
though slow and "bureaucratic") way.  If successful, this can take some 
years, but the same is true for many other essential  things  in our 
society!  I know  that there are even taxonomists, who INTENTIONALLY 
deviate from the rules, if they happen to PEERSONALLY prefer a different 
opinion. However, without universal rules of nomenclature taxonomy 
would  soon be a total chaos - a situation, where people not regarding 
taxonomy NECESSARY AT ALL would perhaps be happy, but I believe that 
most of us taxonomists would be extremely unhappy.
           I  will not here list correct alternatives in the case 
referred to by Crandall & De Grave, as I have no time to  OBTAIN and 
carefully read the articles by Ng (1994, De Grave et al., 2009, Ng et 
al., 2008, Baba et al., 2008, McLaughlin et al., 2010a; 2010b, Chan, 
2010 &  De Grave & Fransen, 2011). I hope that Crustacean taxonomists 
will get well acquainted both to the CURRENTLY VALID RULES OF ZOOLOGICAL 
NOMENCLATURE and to the publications listed here. A correct solution 
can, however, be found by only STRICT APPLICATION OF THE CODE, not by 
imitating some previous misinterpretations of other authors of the same 
group. It might be useful also to get acquainted to at least some 
corresponding cases in other groups, AS SOME GROUPS CANNOT HAVE 
           Pekka T. Lehtinen, Commissioner of ICZN 1980-2000,  still 
active taxonomist.
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