[Taxacom] Science 24 Feb 2017 letter: Photos belong in taxonomic Code

Frank T. Krell Frank.Krell at dmns.org
Thu Feb 23 21:41:21 CST 2017

The authors of this letter write that the Code should allow photographs and movies to be eligible for designation as primary types. "This change would allow valid species descriptions [...] without violating the Code."

May I point out that describing new species on the basis of photographs or movies does *not* violate the Code. It is just that the specimens shown in those media are the types, not the photographs or movies themselves. In these cases the types are not preserved and, in most cases, are deemed to be lost. But this is still Code-compliant.

It may violate good taxonomic practice though - in Cases where types could have been preserved.

Please read the Code, people. There is definitely no revision of the Code needed to accommodate photo-based descriptions.
On the contrary, I would say that the Code should more strongly discourage descriptions without preserved type specimens when type specimens could easily be preserved and remain diagnostic in the preserved stage. 


Dr. Frank-Thorsten Krell

Senior Curator of Entomology, Editor-in-Chief
Commissioner and Councillor, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
Department of Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd
Denver, Colorado 80205-5798, U.S.A.
Frank.krell at dmns.org
Phone 303.370.8244
Fax 303.331.6492

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Dilrukshan Wijesinghe
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:55 PM
To: Taxacom Mailinglist <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: [Taxacom] Science 24 Feb 2017 letter: Photos belong in taxonomic Code

There is a Letter by André Rinaldo Senna Garrafoni & André Victor Lucci Freitas in Science 24 February 2017 [Vol. 355, Issue 6327], p. 805, titled "Photos belong in taxonomic Code". The authors advocate the use of photos & movies to serve as types, especially for meiofaunal organisms (e.g. gastrotrichs), specimens of which lose diagnostic features after preservation.
 D. P. Wijesinghe
dpwijesinghe at yahoo.com
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