[Taxacom] Can the type species of a genus be a synonym within its own genus?

Tony Rees tonyrees49 at gmail.com
Thu May 17 17:19:40 CDT 2018

Dear Taxacomers,

I was looking again at the various taxonomic treatments that have been
proposed for the domestic dog, Canis (or Canis Lupus) familiaris, and by
extension the dingo as mentioned a little while back. There seems to be
general agreement that the dog is derived from the gray wolf Canis lupus by
domestication, or perhaps from an extinct subspecies of the latter (as
briefly discussed on Taxacom a few years back, see
http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom/2013-December/126549.html and
successive messages). Both the epithets familiaris and lupus are on the
ICZN Official list, by virtue of Direction 22 (which dealt with familiaris
as the type specis of Canis) here:
https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/34652714 , and Opinion 2027 (
https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/34357823) which dealt with the names
of wild forms versus domesticated forms of the same taxon (thereby placing
lupus on the list).

The influential "Mammal Species of the World" (MSW) , 2005 edition seems
largely responsible for the present prevalence of treating familiaris as a
subspecies of lupus. My question is, if familiaris is the type species of
the genus, this treatment effectively synonymizes familiaris with lupus at
species level, which I am thinking should not be possible under relevant
nomenclatural rules.

It is quite likely that I am wrong in this regard but I would be happy to
educated further with respect to the question as posed, namely, can the
type species of a genus be a synonym (at species level) within its own
genus, or should in fact the wolf become Canis familiaris if the two taxa
are not separated at species level (irrespective of what  Opinion 2027 has
to say).

Looking forward to your comments,

Regards - Tony

Tony Rees, New South Wales, Australia

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