[Taxacom] cautionary tale on molecular vouchers

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Fri Aug 18 11:23:02 CDT 2017

I would expect that nowadays all molecular studies deposit voucher
specimens that allow for subsequent verification. The importance of this
procedure was recently highlighted for me in a molecular study of some
moths where the results linked a species of one genus to species of a very
different genus (the two genera are otherwise extremely distinct in every
way). So naturally I investigated the voucher for that specimen which was
said to have been deposited in a collection. It turns out that, so far,
this appears not to have been the case with nothing in the pinned
collection and frozen material for the study had since been thrown out. So,
one is left with a insoluble situation (not even any photos of the
specimens). Mistakes happen, and I am as guilty of that as anyone, so no
criticism directed at the authors. Just a lesson in the importance of
actually depositing the vouchers cited in publication.

John Grehan


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