is gone, and it seems that we'll have to get used to another name for a familiar species. Nevertheless, this is a sound paper - far more convincing than any previous one maintaining synspilus
. And in admitting intraspecific variation instead of making new species from every marginal difference, it contradicts the spirit of our time in a really pleasant way.
I have noted two small but pardonable errors:
(1) The distribution map (fig. 1) is somewhat inaccurate in showing the total range (indicated by grey-shaded area) to include the upper Grijalva drainage, the species is (like many others) restricted in this system to lowland tributaries in the State of Tabasco.
(2) 'Paraneetroplus' maculicauda
does not occur in the Usumacinta drainage as stated on page 10 (quoted from Kullander 2003). The record from the Usumacinta drainage is based on a misidentification of 'Cichlasoma' heterospilum
by Rivas(1962; in the original description of Thorichthys pasionis
: Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 25 ). Miller has adopted it in his famous work "Geographical Distribution of Central American Freshwater Fishes" (Copeia 4, 1966) but corrected it in the addendum to the reprint of this paper in Thorson & al. (1976: "Investigations of the Ichthyofauna of Nicaraguan Lakes").
Willem Heijns wrote:Also, the authors are not fully aware of the regulations in the ICZN. Redescribing the species Heros melanurus as Paraneetroplus melanurus does not render the original name a synonym.
I would admit that it is not an uncommon practice two quote the original combination in the synonymy of a redescribed species. However, the style is somewhat unusual. Normally, synonyms, misidentifications and former combinations are listed directly under the heading of the accepted name. To some extent, this is certainly attributable to Zootaxa's general shortcomings in layout and style. Be that as it may, it does not detract the value of the present paper.
As to the generic assignment, we'll have still to wait for more definite works. The results of the published phylogenetic analyses are not consistent, and proper diagnoses are not available for any concept of the genera involved. I'm not at all convinced of the distinctness of Vieja
. A genus Paraneetroplus
with the species bulleri
(I am well aware of the strange placement of this species in McMahan&al. 2010) would perhaps be diagnosable, but I am unable to follow the inclusion of regani
in that group.
Thomas Andersen wrote:Yes, but that's exactly what a strict cladist will not accept. In cladism you cannot have "monophyletic groups" within a clade, they will see it as paraphyly which is NOT ACCEPTED in cladism. In their eyes ALL descendents from a common ancestor should be included (= a whole clade) - in traditional Linnean taxonomy paraphyly is accepted, so you can have several groups/genera within a clade.
Interesting, but from this point of view one could assign all the species in the tree to Herichthys
. I agree with Willem, it's only a matter of where you draw the 'line' of the genus category The genera of Willem's own variant would be monophyletic, as would be Paraneetroplus
in McMahan's variant. However, the unification of the Vieja
clades to one genus would make that genus paraphyletic with regard to Paraneetroplus
But why couldn't paraphyletic groups be natural. The dogma, that genera (and species) have to be monophyletic, will eventually lead either to excessive splitting or to lumping into uninformative taxa. An (simplified) example: The species flock of Lake Barombi Mbo in Cameroon consists of eleven species which are so distinct that they have been assigned to five genera, four of them endemic. The species which gave rise to this assemblage was identified as the widespread Sarotherodon galilaeus galilaeus
(Schliewen 2005). So this species is paraphyletic with regard the Barombi Mbo flock. The removal of the paraphyly would require either to synonymize all the Barombi species with S. galilaeus galilaeus
or to splitthe latter into an indefinite number of indistinguishable species and genera.