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Spio caudatus

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Wed Nov 24 01:34:38 EST 1999

Tom Perkins provided some useful points regarding Nereis caudata names, 
and ended with:

> Nereis caudata was originally described in 1822 as Spio caudatus.  This 
> name was first used by Lamarck, 1818, for the species now known as 
> Polydora cornuta Bosc, 1802, type locality Charleston, South Carolina.  

And it was Polydora cornuta even then of course. Just to  expand  on that  
line linking P. cornuta and Spio caudatus in Hartman 1959, p390, and to 
check with list members if my grasp of the events is on the right track. (I'm 
only aware of a Commission ruling on the dates of Savigny, not anything 
else, and I haven't looked through papers of the time other than Lamarck, 
1818 and Quatrefages, 1865). But according to McIntosh (1915) Savigny  
who, as we know, was 'pirated' at MS stage before publication by 
Lamarck's encyclopedia, still included genus Spio "amongst the nereids", 
that is at family level, as did Lamarck.    

Spio caudatus appears to be an unnecessary replacement name of 
Lamarck's applied in front of Polydora cornuta Bosc, 1802 for reasons 
unknown. No one else has/had made the link as far I know. This arose 
because Lamarck somehow became confused about what was a "Spio a 
queue" (his heading for S. caudatus the spionid) as against a 'nereid with a 
tail' thing (but don't they all have one?). Perhaps  he'd seen something in 
other manuscripts, perhaps delle Chiaje's as well as Savigny's (I'm 
suspicious at this coincidence in name and period!).  Unfortunately, 
despite the mistake and the brevity, probably Lamarck's name is available 
and is the  primary homonym against the Spio caudatus intended for a 
nereid by delle Chiaje. The junior name is permanently invalid unless 
someone makes an application to the Commission to suppress Lamarck's 

A second matter is I cannot understand why Hartman p390 misleadingly 
makes reference to "delle Chiaje, 1828, in Quatrefages, 1865" for Spio 
caudatus, instead of just citing the delle Chiaje reference. Unless it slipped 
through from a time when she had not seen delle Chiaje and was relying on 
Quatrefages for the details he does give.  There are further examples of the 
practice on that page and the next.    

Finally I've just noticed that Day's 1967 monograph has the type locality of 
Nereis caudata as Massachusetts!  

Finally finally, if I was researching N. caudata I'd need to look carefully at 
the delle Chiaje 1822 and 1841 papers to see if the same entity was being 

  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>

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