[Taxacom] Ambiguous lectotype designation?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sat Apr 13 15:53:25 CDT 2019

 Hi Francisco,I think that the issue isn't as clear as you are claiming. It is not clear to me that a "simple typographical error" can be assumed in this case, and in general it is a subjective judgement call which may therefore differ between authors. If there actually are (or seem to be?) two specimens with different identifiers both being referred to as the lectotype, then the designation is ambiguous. I don't think you can just say of the second cited specimen, "Oh the author is clearly intending to refer to the first cited specimen!"Having said that, I'm still not convinced that it actually makes much difference provided that someone publishes a clarification of which specimen is the lectotype (so that museums don't label the wrong one or both as lectotype!) Given that clarification, it seems to make no real difference if we consider the lectotype to date from the original designation, now clarified, or the earlier designation to be invalid but now designated validly. I guess it could be a problem if someone else designated a different lectotype in the interim and wants to uphold its validity as lectotype, claiming that the original designation was ambiguous and therefore invalid, though they might have difficulty making that judgement call objectively, given that they want their designation to be the valid one! I guess that this is why we have (used to have?) a Commission who could be asked to make a ruling on such problematic cases. However, in cases like the one that this thread is about, where (presumably) nobody has any particular reason to want to change the currently accepted lectotype, we can probably get baway with just publishing a clarification and carrying on as if the original designation was valid.Cheers, Stephen
    On Saturday, 13 April 2019, 9:55:59 am UTC, Francisco Welter-Schultes <fwelter at gwdg.de> wrote:  
 I agree with you. The question is, is the lectotype designation 
ambiguous? A simple typographical error, as we may assume here, would 
not invalidate a nomenclatural act, given that the rest is consistent. 
If it is ambiguous, then I see no option for tolerance and the act in 
such a case would not be valid.


Am 13.04.2019 um 02:35 schrieb Stephen Thorpe:
>  Not so fast Francisco! If it was just an error in citing details of *a single specimen*, then that would be not a big deal, but if there are *two specimens* referred to as the lectotype, then I would say that it is problematic!
> Cheers, Stephen
>      On Saturday, 13 April 2019, 12:03:41 am UTC, Francisco Welter-Schultes <fwelter at gwdg.de> wrote:
>  Dear Michael,
> the Code is silent about such errors in lectotype designations, but it
> is usual practice to tolerate minor errors of this kind. I would
> recommend to publish a statement that this should have read 1587 instead
> of 1586, and explain the circumstances. If this is the only error I
> would tolerate it.
> Best wishes
> Francisco
> -----
> Francisco Welter-Schultes
> Am 13.04.2019 um 01:35 schrieb Michael Oliver:
>> Eccles & Trewavas (1989)** redescribed the cichlid fish *Haplochromis
>> heterodon* Trewavas, 1935, transferring it to *Otopharynx. *From the
>> several lots of syntypes they designated a lectotype, referring to it in
>> two places. First (p. 157), a specimen drawing is captioned "*Fig. 79*.
>> Otopharynx heterodon *(Trewavas). Lectotype. Male, 96 mm SL; Monkey Bay."*
>> Second (p. 158), under Material examined: "*Lectotype: *BMNH 1935.6.14.
>> *1586*. Male, 96 mm SL; Monkey Bay, coll. Christy. (Fig. 79)."
>> The problem is, the specimen with register number 1586 is NOT the one drawn
>> in Fig. 79. It measures only 86 mm SL. Furthermore, the original drawing
>> for Fig. 79 includes the notation "No. 326" and a specimen in another lot,
>> 1935.6.14.*1587*, has the collector's tag "326" tied to it (and this
>> specimen is the expected 96 mm SL; I have examined both specimens).
>> Thus, I think it is clear that 1587 (the drawn fish) is the intended
>> lectotype, despite the misstated register number under Material examined.
>> Is this lectotype designation ambiguous? Will it be sufficient when
>> redescribing this species (as planned) to explain the confusion and provide
>> the correct register number of 1935.6.14.*1587?*
>> ___
>> **Eccles, D. H. and E. Trewavas. 1989. Malaŵian Cichlid Fishes. The
>> Classification of Some Haplochromine Genera. Herten: Lake Fish Movies. 335
>> pp.
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