Hypsophrys unimaculatus

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Juan Artigas
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Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Juan Artigas » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:49 am

While recognizing the validity of Agassiz's genus Hypsophrys, Kullander (1997) has recognized as well the validity of the species unimaculatus to be the same as H. nicaraguensis, with the suggestion to retain the more familiar specific name nicaraguensis over the historically precedent unimaculatus. The officialization of such move requires a request and determination by the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature, which as far as I know has not happen. Chakrabarty et al (2007) have pointed out the code violation in retaining nicaraguensis as a senior synonym for unimaculatus and appeal to the use of the valid unimaculatus name over the more familiar but invalid nicaraguensis.

What is your opinion on this?

Agassiz, Louis. 1859. "Remarks on new fishes from Lake Nicaragua". Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History. v. 6; pp. 407-408. (crc00138)

Chakrabarty, Prosanta & John Sparks. 2007. "Relationships of the New World cichlid genus Hypsophrys Agassiz 1859 (Teleostei: Cichlidae), with diagnoses for the genus and its species". Zootaxa. n. 1523 pp. 59–64 (crc01436)

Kullander, Sven & K. E. Hartel. 1997. "The systematic status of cichlid genera described by Louis Agassiz in 1859: Amphilophus, Baiodon, Hypsophrys and Parachromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwaters. v.7(3/4), pp. 193-202 (crc00138). (crc001041)
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Bas Pels » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:36 pm

As I have not read the article, I will assume the arguments for synonimizing H unimaculatus with H nicaraguensae convincing for now.

I think everyone who once kelt Hypsophrys, or even Central American cichlids will know the name nicaraguensae. H unimaculatus has not been used for decades.

Therefore, I think H unimaculatgus can be considered forgotten.

Personally I like H nicaraguensae better, as nicaraguensae tells me more then unimaculatus, (after all, more cichlids carry 1 spot) but this is not a valid argument. I just mention it in order to show any bias I might have

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:58 pm

The valid name for this species is Hypsophrys nicaraguensis. Hypsophrys unimaculatus is a nomen oblitum, a senior synonym invalidated by reversal of precedence according to the criteria defined in Article 23.9.1:

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-sites/iczn/ ... nfv=true#9

It is somewhat unfortunate that Chakrabarty & Sparks (2007) have used the name H. unimaculatus as valid for this species, but it still qualifies for a nomen oblitum. The authors quote Art. 23 of the the Code, so they must have been aware of these provisions. Thus, their proposed revalidation of H. unimaculatus is a "deliberate use of a name contrary to Article 23.9.1" and must be disregarded in determining if the name has been used as valid after 1899 (see Art. 23.9.6).

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Juan Artigas » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:05 pm

Thank you Rico, it is clearly a nomen oblitum. I very much appreciate it
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:53 am

I'm not so sure. Two issues play a part here: the version of the Code and the way Kullander & Hartel (1997) formulated their proposal.

The Code:
The current version (4) of the Code makes a distinction between suppressing a name and reversing priority of two synonyms. The latter can be achieved if the provisions of article 23.9 are met (which is the case here). Suppressing a name requires a ruling by the Commission. The version current in 1997 (3) doesn't make this distinction (at least I couldn't find it) and speaks only of suppressing a name, for which a Commission ruling is indeed needed. Maybe this is a case where the current version of the Code (4) is not applicable to nomenclatural acts before the version became effective?

Kullander & Hartel:
They state: "Stability of nomenclature may be better served by retaining Günther's name nicaraguensis........and suppressing unimaculatus, but we prefer to leave this issue to a taxonomic revision of Hypsophrys. ICZN Articles 23b and 79c require that suppression of a senior synonym be subject to the approval of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature".
This is not a very firm statement ("may be better served") and I don't believe the authors submitted the case to the Commission.

Chakrabarty and Sparks (2007) are indeed wrong by declaring the suppression invalid on the basis of Article 23 (current version). But are they also wrong according to the 1997 version of the Code? And is the paper by Kullander & Hartel indeed to be viewed as a suppression? Or just a suggestion to be followed by the first revisor?
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:54 am

It is true that, according to the 3rd edition of the Code then in force, Kullander & Hartel (1997) actually have had either to apply the Principle of Priority strictly (i.e. validate Hypsophrys unimaculatus and also Parachromis gulosus, the taxonomic identity of Amphilophus froebelii was left somewhat open) or to send an application for the suppression of these species group names to the Commission. Indeed, they point out that need repeatedly in their work, but deferred such an application. So one may say that their treatment of Aggasiz' names violated the Code (whatever reasons they may have had) and that it would have been correct to use Hypsophrys unimaculatus and Parachromis gulosus as valid names for H. nicaraguensis and P. managuensis, respectively, from that point on.

However, what would have been correct does not matter. The crucial fact is that (fortunately in this case) nobody has corrected that as long as the 3rd edition was in force. After 1999, it was replaced by the 4th edition and is no longer applicable. Any nomenclatural issue must be considered under the current edition, see (once more) articles 86.3 and 88:
86.3. Force of previous Rules and Codes. The rules governing zoological nomenclature contained in former editions of the International Rules of Zoological Nomenclature and of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, and any amendments affecting the Code, have no force unless reaffirmed in this edition, and then only as herein expressed.

Article 88. Application of the Code. No name or nomenclatural act published before 1758 enters zoological nomenclature [Art. 3]. Zoological names, works and nomenclatural acts published after 1757 (which may make use of information in works published earlier) are governed by the provisions of this Code.
Chakrabarty & Sparks (2007) have correctly referred to the 4th edition, but have wrongly disregarded parts of Art. 23.

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:51 pm

Thanks for pointing that out Rico. Interesting to note that, had some author corrected Kullander & Hartel before 1 January 2000 (as these authors do themselves with Barlow & Munsey (1976) on froebelii), the whole issue would be (might have been) completely different. I hadn't realized this.

So, we have to judge Kullander & Hartel (1997) on Article 23.9 of the current (4th) edition of the Code. The provisions in 23.9.1.1 (unimaculatus not used as valid after 1899) and 23.9.1.2 (nicaraguensis used as valid in at least 25 works by at least 10 authors, etc) are most likely met.
Article 23.9.2 may pose a problem though. According to this article Kullander & Hartel should "state explicitly that the younger name is valid" ("stability may be better served"); state that "the condition in 23.9.1.1 applies" (no such statement found) and "give evidence that the conditions of 23.9.1.2 are met" (no evidence found).

How do we go about this?
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:03 am

What we have to judge from Art. 23.9 is not the work by Kullander & Hartel but the nomenclatural status of the species names involved in this case. Relevant is (apart of course from the proposed synonymies) only the fact that they don't have used Aggassiz' species names as valid, regardless if correct or not. Of course they could not take action according to 23.9.2 because they could not apply a provision that did not exist!

Anyway, Art. 23.9.1 suffices to retain the younger names as valid: "Prevailing usage must be maintained, when the [...] conditions are met". Art. 23.9.2.2 describes the formal procedure how to declare a name a nomen oblitum (unfortunately, in a rather optional manner - almost like a recommendation: "An author [...] should ..."), but that is not in itself one of the conditions to be met. One may say that this article is redundant then, but the formal action is necessary to avoid future confusion, since Art. 23.9.1 alone leaves the status of the older name somewhat in limbo and a new code may abandon reversal of precedence again (as happened with a former ruling). The more regrettable is the fact that that this step has been neglected in the two revisions of Hypsophrys we have meanwhile seen (Chakrabarty & Sparks 2007 and Schmitter-Soto 2007).

Of course this is just my view but it takes into account both the purpose of Art. 23.9 (stability of nomenclature) and the conflict with Arts. 23.9.6 and 23.11 in case of a contrary interpretation. There is certainly room for improvement in a future version of the Code.

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:58 am

Let's see if I understood correctly.

Suppose Kullander & Hartel, Chakrabarty & Sparks and Schmitter-Soto had not been published. Looking at the status of unimaculatus and nicaraguensis, any author would have to conclude that the provisions of Article 23.9.1 (unimaculatus not used as valid after 1899 and nicaraguensis used as valid many times) are met. The prevailing usage of the name nicaraguensis must therefore be maintained.

For unimaculatus to be declared a nomen oblitum and nicaraguensis a nomen protectum, a statement according to Article 23.9.2 must be made. Interestingly, this article uses the terms "should" ("an author should cite the two names together") and "must" ("the author must give evidence") interchangeably. And also, the names "may be" qualified as nomen oblitum and nomen protectum. Kullander & Hartel (1997) didn't provide such a statement. So the situation remains as it was before their paper was published.

When Chakrabarty & Sparks (2007) used unimaculatus as valid, they acted in violence with Article 23.9.6, because they could and should have known that the provisions of Article 23.9.1 are met. They even referred to this article. If they would have wanted the "original" precedence to be restored, Article 23.11 requires them to apply to the Commission for a ruling. Which they didn't.

Schmitter-Soto (2007) states: "Because there are no types of unimaculatus and the name constitutes a senior synonym unused after 1899 (ICZN 1999) I shall file a petition to ICZN to conserve the younger specific epiphet nicaraguensis". I don't think he ever did and, as stated above, there is no need to.

Scientists are just like people; they make mistakes.......
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:23 pm

....like everyone else. And this is good since it provides stuff for interesting discussions (interesting at least for the participants).

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by cichla » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:16 pm

What about Parachromis gulosus?

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Juan Artigas » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:48 pm

cichla wrote:What about Parachromis gulosus?
I guess we can just repeat the discussion? the difference is that for P. gulosus the types are available
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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by cichla » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:53 am

yes, Juan, you are right. However, suppose that someone would treat the Parachromis managuensis from Lake Managua and from the Lake Nicaragua as different species than P. gulosus would be the correct, valid name for the later population.
Any input are welcome.
Very best, Cichla

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:31 am

Yes, it would be valid. A nomen oblitum has, in principle, the same status as a junior synonym. If the synonymy is subjective (i.e. the nominal taxa are based on different name-bearing types) and the types are no longer conspecific, such a name becomes valid (unless contesting another name in prevailing usage, e.g. if someone would consider P. gulosus a synonym of P. dovii rather than P. managuensis, it would remain invalid).

However, there is no doubt about the ID. Never say never, but let's hope that nobody will ever be as fatuous as to attempt splitting P. managuensis into several species. Since the species is important for aquaculture, the populations both within and outside the native range (which is not exactly determinable anymore) have been so heavily influenced by human activities that natural interpopulational variation would be inassessible.

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by cichla » Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:53 am

Thanks, Rico. Your expertise is very informative, and welcome.
However, even Kullander & Hertel (1997) mentioned differences between Parachromis managuensis
and the types of P. gulosus. So, why not recognize two (or even more cryptic) species ?

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:43 am

Unless I miss something, the few differences they noted are based on comparision of the two type specimens of P. gulosus with figure of the holotype of P. managuensis, a considerably larger specimen, and are readily attributable to size. I know of no work, in which real interpopulational differences are recorded. Moya Meono (1979) examined 321 specimens from many localities including several Nicaraguan lakes without finding noteworthy intraspecific variation. Even if minor differences in body proportions or counts where detectable by some statistical method, this could hardly be sufficient to base species on it, especially so with the above considerations in mind.

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Re: Hypsophrys unimaculatus

Post by cichla » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:17 am

Thank you.

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