[Taxacom] Taxacom Digest, Vol 173, Issue 10

Lynn Raw lynn at afriherp.org
Sun Sep 27 16:11:03 CDT 2020

I suggest that you ask the nomenclatural part of your questions on the ICZN list. I suspect that the name will stand even if the holotype is destroyed as long as it was validly described in terms of the Code in the first place. The legal questions are something else and may involve international law as well as the laws of the relevant countries. It seems that science will be the loser if the specimen is destroyed but it will not affect the nomenclature. I am no expert on the subject hence my suggestion that you consult the members of the ICZN list.

Lynn Raw

> On 27 Sep 2020, at 10.10, Hinrich Kaiser via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> Expanding on the apparent tarantula problem, I was wondering whether I could receive opinions on the following actual scenario (without specifics, to protect individuals' and institutions' identities).
> A new species from a group of CITES Appendix II animals was described based on a single specimen with legally and ethically questionable origin in a non-peer reviewed publication. The following information can be gleaned from the paper describing the species: The specimen was collected by unnamed local villagers, collecting date not provided, who sold it to a named facilitator. There is no further explanation how the specimen crossed at least three international borders to eventually end up accessioned in a major collection, but personnel of the receiving institution are acknowledged in the paper for facilitating accession of the specimen. There is no mention of any collecting permit.
> Upon a request for information, it became clear that the permitting authority in the country of origin was unaware of any collecting activity of this taxon in the time from the country's independence to the paper's publication date. The country of import has very specific requirements for importation of CITES II species from the country of origin and it is unclear whether any compliance paperwork was filed. Verbal requests to the institution for permit and collecting information were strongly rebuffed.
> My questions are as follows:(1) Should this issue be examined to ensure proper procedure was followed?
> (2) If it appears that proper procedure was not followed, the specimen may be removed from the institution's care (this is the normal process with illegally collected CITES material in the country in question). In many instances, specimens are subsequently destroyed, which means that the holotype would no longer be extant. The specimen would certainly lose its status as owned by the institution (i.e., it would likely have to be deaccessioned).
> (3) Other than the obvious issue with the holotype not being available for study after its removal from the institution (probably necessitating the designation of a neotype), should such an issue in any way impact the validity of the original description? An alternative available name exists.
> These are complex questions that tangle with law enforcement, professional ethics, taxonomy, and nomenclature. I think most would agree that illegal specimens should not be used to describe species and institutions should certainly not assist by "laundering" such material. However, there really is no path to fix something like this, or is there?
> Thanks for your input.Hinrich
> Hinrich Kaiser PhD FLS
> Executive Vice President for Global Sourcing, B2B Food Services, Inc.
> Professor of Biology, Victor Valley CollegeEditor-in-Chief, Herpetology NotesGuest Researcher, Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander KoenigResearch Associate, USNM, Smithsonian InstitutionExecutive Committee Member, World Congress of Herpetology
> PeaceJam Representative of Nobel Peace Laureate José Ramos-HortaMember, Int. Advisory Board, Foundation for Post-Conflict Development
> Please note: This email and its attachments (if any) are confidential and intended solely for the named recipient. 
>    On Saturday, September 26, 2020, 08:18:19 PM GMT+2, taxacom-request at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom-request at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:  
> Daily News from the Taxacom Mailing List 
> When responding to a message, please do not copy the entire digest into your reply.
> ____________________________________
> Today's Topics:
>   1. Early warning (Carlos Alberto Martínez Muñoz)
>   2. Re: Early warning (Sergio Henriques)
>   3. Re: Early warning (Carlos Alberto Martínez Muñoz)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 26 Sep 2020 12:30:42 +0300
> From: Carlos Alberto Martínez Muñoz <biotemail at gmail.com>
> To: Taxa com <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Subject: [Taxacom] Early warning
> Message-ID:
>     <CACA4WzAaAo9bfJh+jF0xuJMfaBFJG95OkBd3X8_MPyaiEdkd7A at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
> Dear Taxacomers,
> I see signs of a new species of tarantula being in process of description.
> The researcher already published a non-spider species based on material
> that was illegally collected and illegally imported to Europe. Based on the
> timing of events, the spiders may have the same or similar origin. I
> encourage journal editors and reviewers to extra check for legal origin of
> tarantula specimens, and to keep an eye open for incomplete specimen data,
> such as collectors not stated in the manuscript. Illegal trade of
> tarantulas is decimating wild populations, and the last thing that I want
> to see is researchers fueling it.
> I also raise the issue that attempted whitewashing of illegal specimens
> through scientific papers harms the entire taxonomic community. We may not
> notice when new species based on illegal specimens come to light, but every
> time this happens, the network of illegal collectors and dealers do know.
> Then, just because of scientific misconduct of a few researchers, we all
> end up seen as hypocrites that "do it too".
> Another thing. When these cases happen and the holding institution
> discovers that it ended up receiving illegal specimens, my position is that
> there are no excuses for not returning the specimens to the country of
> origin.
> Kind regards,
> Carlos A. Martínez Muñoz
> Zoological Museum, Biodiversity Unit
> FI-20014 University of Turku
> Finland  
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Send Taxacom mailing list submissions to: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> For list information; to subscribe or unsubscribe, visit: http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> You can reach the person managing the list at: taxacom-owner at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> The Taxacom email archive back to 1992 can be searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for about 33 years, 1987-2020.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list