WoRMS Re: [Annelida] best taxonomic tree

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Tue May 5 19:29:56 EST 2009

>>> On 6/05/2009 at 9:19 a.m., "Geoff Read" <g.read from niwa.co.nz> wrote:
 A caveat with WoRMS is that there may be 
> conflicting information, and synonymies should not be assumed to be 
> invariably correct (they are not chiselled in tablets of stone by a higher 
> power), though mostly they will be. As always one's own judgment is required 
> to interpret the information, and some further investigation may be 
> necessary.

While the topic is active, here is a small example of unresolved contrary entries that may be expected, given the enormous number of entries, and the way taxonomy is complex and never static.

Austrophyllum monroi Hartman, 1964 and Zverlinum monroi (Hartman, 1964) have separate entries as valid names (entered by different personnel). They are not cross referenced, and looking in the Zverlinum entry one would not know that Austrophyllum was the genus used by Hartman in the original description of the species (IMHO this information is fundamental). Zverlinum Averintsev, 1972, is apparently a valid genus. The entries on Zverlinum were not done by Kristian.

Moving on to other sources, according to Pleijel 1991, Zverlinum is, at this time, best treated as a junior synonym of Phyllodoce.  Thus FYI the valid name in this example would appear to be Phyllodoce monroi (Hartman, 1964). 

Another very handy feature WoRMS database offers for the Polychaeta is annotated lists of taxa for each taxonomic publication - one can for example look at the species list for Hartman's, 1964 Antarctic Errantia, and each line is a live link to that name combination.

What I would like to see is a means of reporting errors and getting them logged, other than emailing Kristian and others directly, who undoubtedly have other things they'd rather be doing. There may be simple errors, but cases can rapidly get quite complicated and thus consume a great deal of time to sort out from the original literature.  Perhaps for starters a dubious page could simply be date tagged as 'Data questioned. Requires update'.



 Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

NIWA is the trading name of the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd.

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