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experts and type localities in polychaetology

Helmut Zibrowius hzibrowi at com.univ-mrs.fr
Tue Dec 12 15:42:17 EST 1995

In reply to G. Read's discussion contribution of Fri, 8 Dec 1995 22:46:
29 +1300 (NZD), which contained the following partly optimistic remark:

>When an expert has done the id there is usually no problem but most 
>polychaete ids aren't made by experts.... 

   The second part of the sentence is very true and that situation surely 
contributes to increase the general mess.
   Considering the former part, what about those experts like P. Fauvel and 
his priestly school at Angers? They have been and still widely are
considered as experts, especially P. Fauvel, with his very many papers. 
But there are stories about the posterior part of a polychaete described 
as the anterior part of a new taxon and I am inclined to believe those. I 
indeed would have similar anecdotical aspects to add....
   My personal experience with serpulids shows that their identifications 
should always be doubted and verified. Harry ten Hove will probably not 
contradict me?
   We always should be cautious when referring to "expert authorities" 
and always be prepared to play detectives, as in the case of type 
localities: poorly transcribed data, left overs in the dredge from a 
previous haul at a totally different depth, etc. are not uncommon.
   By the way, can somebody tell me where to find Narcon Island?
   That's the type locality of the Antarctic/subantarctic Serpula 
narconensis Baird, from J. Ross' Antarctic exploring expedition. It has 
been quoted many times since 1865.
   Well, I think that I have good reasons to believe that Narcon Island is 
just a poor transcription of Marion Island, a southern island that 
effectively was visited by J. Ross' expedition.
   Play detectives and have fun!

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