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[Annelida] Tomopteris question

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by Geoffrey.Read from niwa.co.nz)
Wed Feb 1 17:41:33 EST 2012

Hi Barbara,

I also am interested in relative validity of T. helgolandica / T. catharina!  I was asked to look at this in the WoRMS records last year, and, not knowing a lot about Tomopteris taxonomic history, I did so, and was puzzled by the current common usage of Tomopteris helgolandica, such as in the Gesa Hartmann-Schröder Polychaeta book.   I think there is some work to be done by someone in sorting this out. It seems obvious T. helgolandica is a junior synonym to several other names, not just to T. 'catharina'.  Evidence to the contrary or further explanatory help is welcome.

First some resetting of dates, names, etc.  There is no T. helgolandica Gosse, 1853, and Johnstonella catharina Gosse is dated 1853, not 1851. There is no publication of Gosse on worms for 1851, only works on fishes and on a naturalist's travels in Jamaica (only seems to mention fish and other vertebrates, nasty insects). Tomopteris helgolandica is authored by Greef much later (1879) and came from the Canary Islands. I haven't been able to check that paper.

I wrote this note for the T. (Johnstonella) helgolandica WoRMS entry: " Tomopteris (Johnstonella) helgolandica (Greeff, 1879) appears to be a junior synonym to other older names (such as T. (J.) catharina (Gosse, 1853). Since it is in common use its status as an accepted name has not been changed. However, it may well be not the valid name of the taxon."

Here is what Rosa (1908) had to say (in translation). He used Tomopteris (Johnstonella) catharina as the valid name.
I note he also uses 1851 for Gosse's "A naturalists rambles ..." but that is wrong. It is definitely 1853 printed in the book itself:

[Rosa, 1908] "Synonymic note - This species is generally called Tomopteris
onisciformis or T. helgolandica. Both of these names are unacceptable.
T. onisciformis ESCHSCHOLTZ 1825 is a Pacific species which is very
different from our species due to the absence of a tail. Therefore, in
1879, GREEFF gave our species the name of T. helgolandica. This latter
name cannot be used because previous authors had already distinguished
this species from T. onisciformis (see synonyms) by using other names.
Therefore, all that remains to be clarified is whether this species
should be called T. scolopendra (Q. and G. 1825, GOSSE 1855) or
T. Catharina (GOSSE 1851). It is probable (as I will mention under the
subgenus I. Scolopendra) that our species is actually that of Q. and G.
and it is certain that it is the T. scolopendra of GOSSE. I felt that it
would be more accurate to adopt the name of T. Catharina which it had
been given by GOSSE in 1851 before identifying it with the T. scolopendra."

Rosa citation is at http://www.marinespecies.org/polychaeta/aphia.php?p=sourcedetails&id=51583

I hope that helps.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: annelida-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu [mailto:annelida-
> bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu] On Behalf Of Barbara Mikac
> Sent: Thursday, 2 February 2012 3:33 a.m.
> To: Polychaete mailing list
> Subject: [Annelida] Tomopteris question
> Dear colleagues,
> I am interested whether species Tomopteris catharina (Gosse, 1851) and
> Tomopteris vitrina Vejdovsky, 1878 should be synonymysed with Tomopteris
> helgolandica Gosse, 1853? Stossich (1883) and Stiasny (1910; 1912)
> report T. vitrina for the Adriatic Sea, while Vatova, 1928; Knežević,
> 1942; Katzmann, 1972; Požar-Domac, 1994 and Rosa, 1912 report T.
> catharina.
> But I think that all those findings should be attributed to T.
> helgolandica?
> Can somebody help me with solving that?
> Many thanks,
> Barbara

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