atom feed145 messages in edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacomRe: [Taxacom] Does the species name h...
FromSent OnAttachments
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 11:18 am 
Quicke, Donald L JJun 18, 2012 11:45 am 
Frederick W. SchuelerJun 18, 2012 11:57 am 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 12:51 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 12:51 pm 
Karen CranstonJun 18, 2012 1:09 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 1:25 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 1:35 pm 
Chris ThompsonJun 18, 2012 2:28 pm 
Roger BurksJun 18, 2012 2:30 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 2:42 pm 
Doug YanegaJun 18, 2012 2:55 pm 
Vladimir GusarovJun 18, 2012 2:57 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:02 pm 
Neal EvenhuisJun 18, 2012 3:11 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:14 pm 
David CampbellJun 18, 2012 3:17 pm 
Doug YanegaJun 18, 2012 3:23 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:34 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:48 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:51 pm 
Roderic PageJun 18, 2012 3:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 3:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:07 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:20 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:52 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:53 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 4:56 pm 
Bob MesibovJun 18, 2012 5:04 pm 
Chris ThompsonJun 18, 2012 5:32 pm 
James K AdamsJun 18, 2012 6:58 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:01 pm 
brpa...@dwu.eduJun 18, 2012 7:02 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:07 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 7:09 pm 
Tony...@csiro.auJun 18, 2012 7:17 pm 
Bob MesibovJun 18, 2012 8:46 pm 
Stephen ThorpeJun 18, 2012 9:01 pm 
107 later messages
Subject:Re: [Taxacom] Does the species name have to change when it moves genus?
From:Vladimir Gusarov (vlad@nhm.uio.no)
Date:Jun 18, 2012 2:57:16 pm
List:edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacom

Dear Rod,

As I understand it, one reason we keep doing this is that a valid generic name can be very informative. In the group I study, the family Staphylinidae, there are some 50,000 valid species names. The number of valid generic names is much lower. As a result, the percentage of generic names I am familiar with is much higher than the percentage of species I know by name. In the Palaearctic fauna, I know most of the genera. These generic names are useful to me only because they point to certain groups in the up-to-date classification, which eventually will become an equivalent to pointing to certain clades in the tree of life.

When species 1 is moved from genus Leptusa to genus Geostiba, I instantly realize that this species is no longer treated as a member of tribe Homalotini, but instead belongs to the tribe Geostibini. Were the species-genus combination frozen, the name would cease to reflect the position of the species in the system, i.e. it becomes uninformative. I will not be able to figure out from the name alone that Leptusa sp. 1 is in fact a member of the subfamily (Geostibini) different from the one where the type species of Leptusa belongs.

Perhaps an even more illuminating example is hundreds of names originally proposed (by early workers) in the genus Staphylinus, and subsequently transferred to the (many dozens of) genera now residing in different subfamilies.

Cheers,

Vladimir

On 18.06.2012 20:18, Roderic Page wrote:

OK, I know this is what we do, but my question is "why do we do this?"

As names change over time it becomes a major challenge to find everything
published about a taxon. Some groups, such as frogs, are especially prone to
name changes as their classification is unstable. Frogs have a pretty good
online database detailing name changes, but most animal groups lack this,
leaving people like me floundering around trying to make sense of multiple names
why may or may not be for the same thing.

It seems to me that names should be unique and stable. We don't change the name
of a species called "africanus" if we discover that the specimen locality was
actually from Australia, nor do we change the name "maximus" if we subsequently
discover a bigger species. But we do if we move it to a new genus. Why?

Presumably it's because we like the idea of being able to interpret the name -
two members of the same genus are presumably more closely related to each other
than to a species in a different genus. But demonstrably that is often untrue
(otherwise we wouldn't have all the name changes due to moving species to
different genera), and we've learnt not to interpret the name literally when
inferring any biological attributes, so why the desire to have the name match
some current notion of classification? Why not simply accept that we can't infer
relationships from the name?

It seems to be that if we simply stopped trying to make names reflect
classification, at a stroke we'd remove perhaps the primary cause of
nomenclatural instability. For example, the recent case of Drosophila
melanogaster would be a non-issue. It's "Drosophila melanogaster" regardles sof
whether it's nested in the part of the fly tree that includes Sophophora. The
relationships of the taxon would have no bearing on its name.

Discuss.

--------------------------------------------------------- Roderic Page Professor of Taxonomy Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graham Kerr Building University of Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

Email: r.p@bio.gla.ac.uk Tel: +44 141 330 4778 Fax: +44 141 330 2792 Skype: rdmpage AIM: rodp@aim.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192 Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html

_______________________________________________

Taxacom Mailing List Taxa@mailman.nhm.ku.edu http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
methods:

(1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org

(2) a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
your search terms here

-- ***********************************************************************************

Vladimir Gusarov, Ph.D. Curator of Entomology Department of Zoology Natural History Museum University of Oslo \\ / P.O. Box 1172 Blindern ooooDD0-0C NO-0318 Oslo // \ Norway Tel +47 22851703 Fax +47 22851837 email: vlad@nhm.uio.no

Visiting address (and non - P.O. Box address for courier deliveries): Department of Zoology Natural History Museum University of Oslo Sars Gate 1 NO-0562 Oslo Norway

Insect collection: http://www.nhm.uio.no/english/research/nsi/collection/ National Center for Insect Biodiversity: http://www.nhm.uio.no/english/research/nsi/ Personal web page: http://www.nhm.uio.no/english/research/nsi/collection/gusarov/ Internet resources for Staphylinidae: http://www.nhm.uio.no/english/research/nsi/collection/gusarov/resources/

***********************************************************************************

_______________________________________________

Taxacom Mailing List Taxa@mailman.nhm.ku.edu http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
methods:

(1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org

(2) a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
your search terms here