[Taxacom] A nomen nudum in Bombus

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Jun 1 16:56:47 CDT 2021

 For unavailable names like Bombus incognitus, for example, I recommend the following: Assuming that they refer to a good species without any other name available, use the unavailable name as if it were the valid name for the taxon, until such time as someone validates the name nomenclaturally. Any such validation should use the original name, i.e. Bombus incognitus, rather than disruptively coin a different name. Of course, if the species is inadvertently named again as new, witha different name, then Bombus incognitus will be superseded by the new name, except if the name Bombus incognitus has already gained wide usage, in which case an application for conservation of the name would be appropriate. It must be remembered that many names in current usage are unavailable for somewhat less obvious reasons than Bombus incognitus, e.g. lack of specified type depository, etc. It is far more sensible just to continue using them as if they were valid, until such time as any nomenclatural problems can be resolved (and there is really no hurry or necessity)Cheers, Stephen
    On Wednesday, 2 June 2021, 05:34:53 am NZST, Douglas Yanega via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:  
 As an ICZN Commissioner, I can confirm that "Bombus incognitus" is a 
nomen nudum. There is also another Bombus paper published recently in 
which a very well-known existing name (fernaldae) applied to a boreal 
species could have easily been preserved if the authors had selected a 
lectotype from the eastern US, because the western populations were 
found to belong to an Old World taxon (flavidus). Instead, they selected 
a lectotype from Alaska, thereby synonymizing the existing name, and 
created a new name, Bombus flavidus appalachiensis, for the eastern US 
populations, whose diagnosis was basically "It's from the Appalachian 
region and it has different COI barcodes". They also failed to note that 
the eastern populations already HAD a name given to them in 1911; while 
that name (Bombus tricolor) is a junior secondary homonym and 
unavailable, it should STILL have been listed as a senior synonym of 
appalachiensis, and not as a junior synonym of the Old World taxon.

It is increasingly evident that there is a new generation of researchers 
among which are many who are unfamiliar with the ICZN, or the practice 
of consulting taxonomic experts for advice before submitting 
manuscripts. By publishing works containing nomenclatural acts in 
journals focused on topics unrelated to nomenclature, it is a virtual 
guarantee that papers like these will never be peer-reviewed by anyone 
who could resolve these sorts of problems before they are in print.


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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