pleijel at cimrs1.mnhn.fr
Wed Jun 28 17:56:26 EST 2000
>I am not sure that taxonomy itself, especially much of the existing body of
>polychaete taxonomy, has much to do with nature in the sense of living
>animals, reproducing, and interacting with their environment. Just thought
>I'd mention that for perspective. Fred may well concur - see p629 iii of
>Pleijel & Rouse LITU paper - but I don't agree that taxonomists are 'forced'
>to describe organisms as new species - some just do it out of habit without
>much thought at all. If they mostly had decided "a few dead specimens"
>DID NOT represent a new species we all might be better off today.
I believe polychaete and other taxonomy has a lot to do with nature. All
nature doesn't consist of things interacting today, they also have a
history. The core of taxonomy/systematics to me is to discover the tree of
>> "Flexuosus (Ophiodromus, Hesionidae) Sars,
>> 1862". At subsequent mentions only a single name is used, e.g.,
>> "Flexuosus", or followed with an abbreviation of a more inclusive taxon,
>> e.g., "Flexuosus (O.)"; whatever is considered necessary for clarity."
>Or you could write the binominal forwards instead of awkwardly backwards
>and have Ophiodromus flexuosus back again. Would that really be so bad
I dislike it because the species name is a binomial, and this name changes
with changing ideas of its affinities (or even worse: for purely
nomenclatural reasons). For example flexuosus in the literature occurs as:
Think about how we use vernacular names. the name e.g. liverwort doesn't
change because our ideas about its sistergroup relationships change. The
Latin name however has changed for a few years ago from Anemone
hepatica to Hepatica nobilis. The two names refers to the same group.
>One thing I notice with uninominals is that there is no longer that old
>fallback, the 'sp' of the genus. Fred in the Heteropodarke paper had
>something which he didn't want to name formally, but was seemingly forced
>to anyway, there being infinite homonyms of 'sp' (not that Fred would use
>that anymore). Most benthic ecology papers I see have an awful lot of 'sp'
>names in them.
No, it's not the point. For one thing the informal name "Zmyrina" refers to a
clade and not a species, so "sp" would have been rather confusing. And I
didn't want to give it a formal name since I had only weak evidence for the
delineation of the group, and thought that there was a great risk for future
changes. Since it nevertheless was practical to talk about it I gave an
>A minor thing - I am not of the view that italicising of binominals ever had
>any great significance. It's a bit of an anachronism really, or a habit as
>Fred calls it. I'm not sure why he extends it to all his names.
Italicising binomina (and generic names) I guess is used to make the
names easily retrieved in text. I don't have any problem with that. But since
I recognise only clades, and do not refer them to any ranks, it seemed
logical to italicise all taxon names. But as, you say, it's no big deal.
>> The issue is
>> really that names for taxa shouldn't change all the time.
>How true. But they will change under the uninominalists too, perhaps more
>so, as each presents a new classification on new characters, including
>molecular versus morphological, and invents new names for their groups.
I fail to see that. Why should anyone invent a new name for a group which
already has been named? And how could uninomina ever be the reason for
proliferation of new groups?
> The genus is a very convenient way of talking about a member of a set of
> entities, and a binominal has a certain charm and power perhaps related
> to the fact that we all have one (although not all Reads or Peijels belong
> to the same 'clade' of humanity)! I'm looking forward to reading the
> first ecological paper written by a uninominalist to see how
> understandable the application of the system will be outside of taxonomy
> and how the terminology can be developed to cope. Needless to say I
> don't plan to pioneer the field.
Neither do I, considering my knowledge in ecology ;-) But between the
lines I read (correctly?) that you anticipate huge problems. I don't / Fredrik
Biologie des Invertébrés marins, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
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75231 Paris Cedex 05
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