[Annelida] Fabricius and Nereimyra: nomenclature

Fredrik Pleijel fredrik.pleijel at tmbl.gu.se
Mon Jul 10 06:39:20 EST 2006

I'd like to get some input on a nomenclatural issue. Together with  
Arne Nygren I'm currently preparing a revision of Nereimyra  
(Hesionidae). The type species is Nereis rosea Fabricius, 1780,  
usually regarded as a junior synonym of Nereis aphroditoides, also  
Fabricius, 1780. Now when I look at the original descriptions there  
is absolutely nothing that indicate that any one of these should be  
close to what we today call Nereimyra (indeed there are some  
statements by Fabricius that seem to contradict it). Further, his  
descriptions of N. aphroditoides and N. rosea do not seem to indicate  
that the two are conspecific. I then have several options:
1) Interpret Fabricius as have been done by most authors and select a  
neotype that agees with todays Nereimyra aphroditoides and a separate  
but conspecific one for Nereis rosea. This is then likely to  
represent a misidentification of Fabricius, but would make the naming  
issue easier and in agreement with previous usage.
2) Same as 1) but select the same neotype for N. aphroditoides and N.  
rosea. These then become objective synonyms.
3) Conclude that Fabricius names are nomina dubia and select the  
earliest unequivocal name for the group; this may be Halimede Rathke,  
1843 with the type species Halimed venusta Rathke, 1843.
4) Conclude that Fabricius names are nomina dubia and apply to ICZN  
to change the type species for Nereimyra.
I would tend towards option 2), it is the cleanest one and it agrees  
with historical interpretations (except the original and maybe very  
early ones). However, I don't think the neotype would agree with what  
Fabricius called either aphroditoides or rosea. On the other hand, I  
don't really care what Fabricius had in front of him (blasphemy?),  
I'm interested to have one name for one taxon, and that this name  
don't change (at least when the taxon doesn't).
There are even more options, but I believe these are the reasonable  
Input is welcome!
Best wishes/Fredrik

Fredrik Pleijel
Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory
Department of Marine Ecology
Göteborg University
SE-452 96 Strömstad
tel +46 526 686 79
mobile +46 70 365 21 21
fax +46 526 686 07
fredrik.pleijel at tmbl.gu.se

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