[Taxacom] Questions about availability of a species name

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Aug 22 16:56:53 CDT 2018

On 8/22/18 2:24 PM, Fernandez, Jose wrote:
> Hi all,
> I would greatly appreciate some help/comments on the following topic. I have added a "Right?" to the  end of my paragraphs to mark my questions (and NOT because I think that I am necessarily right!). Hopefully you can clarify me the situation.
> Microplitis vitellipedis Li, Tan & Song was described in 2009 from China The original paper did not state the holotype depository. Thus, the species name is unavailable under the current ICZN. Right?
> Then in 2015 a taxonomic review of the Oriental species of Microplitis refers to that species. It states that the holotype is deposited in the Hunan Agricultural University, China. That happens to be the institution which the authors of the original description were affiliated with (at least at the time of the 2009 publication). The 2015 paper, from Indian researchers, states that "the type specimen of this species could not be examined" and that they based their species description, illustration and place in the key to Oriental Microplitis species on specimens from India that they actually examined. I am not sure if the 2015 authors contacted the Chinese colleagues to verify that the type was indeed deposited in the Hunan Agricultural University, China. But that may be beyond the point, because what matters is that, if the type depository was explicitly (and clearly) stated in the 2015 paper, then that would comply with the ICZN requirements and thus would make the name Microplitis vitellipedis Li, Tan & Song available. Right?
> Assuming that the two previous paragraphs are correct, then my last question is, how to refer to that species? I mean the species name and authors would remain the same, but the actual date assigned to that name should be 2015 (the moment when the species name fulfilled all criteria to be considered an available name, sensu ICZN) and not 2009. Right? Should it be then Microplitis vitellipedis Li, Tan & Song 2015? Is there something there that I may be missing? Or some assumptions that are wrong? Or better ways to interpret the situation?
> [If someone is interested in checking the cited references, I will be happy to send pdf copies off list (just send me an email for that). In any case the two references are: a) Original Description Reference: Li, Xi-ying; Tan, Ji-cai and Song, Dong-bao. 2009. A new species of Microplitis Foerster (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Microgastrinae) of China. Entomotaxonomia. 31(3):225-229; b) subsequent and so far only reference known to me: Ranjith, A.P.; Rajesh, K.M. and Nasser, M.. 2015. Taxonomic studies on Oriental Microplitis Foerster (Hymenoptera: Braconidae, Microgastrinae) with description of two new species from South India. Zootaxa. 3963(3):369-415].
 From the information given, the name is still unavailable (a nomen nudum).

The relevant section of the Code is as follows, highlights added:

Article 16. Names published after 1999.

16.1. All names: intention of authors to establish new nominal taxa to 
be explicit. Every new name published after 1999, including new 
replacement names (nomina nova), *must be explicitly indicated as 
intentionally new*.


16.4. Species-group names: fixation of name-bearing types to be 
explicit. Every new specific and subspecific name published after 1999, 
except a new replacement name (a nomen novum), for which the 
name-bearing type of the nominal taxon it denotes is fixed automatically 
[Art. 72.7], *must be accompanied in the original publication**
16.4.1. by the explicit fixation of a holotype, or syntypes, for the 
nominal taxon [Arts. 72.2, 72.3, 73.1.1, 73.2 and Recs. 73A and 73C], and,

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*

Li et al. failed to comply with Art. 16.4 (16.4.2), and Ranjith et al. 
failed to comply with Art. 16.1

Had Ranjith et al. stated the species was new, they would have been 
given authorship, and not Li et al.

Under *outdated* editions of the Code, citing a prior-published 
description associated with a previously unavailable name would - under 
some circumstances - make that name available (often inadvertently), but 
the 2000 Code edition added Article 16 to prevent this from ever 
happening again. *You can no longer accidentally make a previously 
published name available just by citing it*; you are either the author 
of a new name yourself, or you are not. In this case, no one is, and the 
name is still a nomen nudum.

There are still apparently lots of taxonomists familiar with the old 
Code editions, and not the most recent edition, who have never read 
Article 16; it's a very long list of papers over the past 18 years that 
violate 16.1 and/or 16.4, and they continue to be published, even in 
peer-reviewed journals.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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