Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by cichla » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:49 pm


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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:21 pm

Yes I remember that discussion in the CICHLID-L of the Swedish Museum taking place over ten years ago. Martin Geerts and Sven Kullander exposed their arguments and in the end that was the conclusion reached (no more opposition), that he correct genus is for the ram was Mikrogeophagus. Interestingly, Microgeophagus is treated as unavailable; nomen nudum; no type species, not treated as valid, no diagnosis of genus; no species included. While Mikrogeophagus publication is apparently not much better, mentions in a Danish aquarium book, but apparently valid
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by cichla » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:21 pm

Yeah, a never ending story.
Fortunately, Kullander (2011) published now (for the very first time) the reason why he is using Mikrogeophagus. Funny enough, Kullander (2011) cited this forum. How serious is a ''scientific'' article about the nomenclature, which used talks from an internet forum (where the contributions are usully very preliminary)?
The uncritical use of Papiliochromis Kullander, 1977 as the valid genus for the ''Ram'' between 1978 and 1998 and the treating of Kullander's (1977) paper as a reliable publication turns out now to be premature and just wrong.
Was it wrong to trust in Kullander (1977)? Was it wrong to trust in Isbrücker (2011)?
Mikrogeophagus versus Microgephagus an epic battle in the history of nomenclature ;-)

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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:30 pm

Yes particularly that "Cichla" author given looks quite strange ;-) But seriously, if a personal communication can be used as reference, why not this forum? He didn't mention our cichlid catalog though (we also use Mikrogeophagus), which is the formal side of this place. I am disappointed...

" Aquarists in social media were very fast to cover Isbrücker (2011, in the May issue), embracing the suggested change of name already on 22 April 2011 (cichla 2011). "

We are not embracing anything as far as I know, but discussing the subject and giving opinions (not blindly following big brother). This is a discussion forum. It is also not our problem is he decides to use the opinions as references for a "scientific" (it reads more like an editorial) work.

" The entry in Wikipedia was changed from Mikrogeophagus to Microgeophagus already on 23 April 2011 (RN1970 2011). Consequently, amalgamated disinformation was being distributed even before Isbrücker (2011) had reached subscribers. More reliable sources, such as the Catalog of Fishes (Eschmeyer & Fricke 2011) and FishBase (Froese & Pauly 2011) did not change. Unavailable names may thus quickly dissipate into hobby press without any control of sources. Fortunately, this is less likely to occur today with the availability of authorities such as the Catalog of Fishes and FishBase "

Fishbase more reliable? I certainly doubt it. Not very long ago, Fishbase was posting pictures as species identification produced by a Google search, and although they established the need for them to be corroborated, sometimes they would show pictures of fishes in different families than the species established. Our Cichlid Catalog is (and has always been) certainly well above that.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:53 am

Apistogramma hippolytae Kullander, 1982

Kullander, Sven. 1982. "Beschreibung einer neuen Apistogramma-Art aus Zentral-Amazonien (Teleostei: Cichlidae). ". Deutsche Cichliden Gesellschaft- Informationen. v. 13; n. 10; pp. 181-193.

Isn't it Deutsche Cichliden Gesellschaft- Informationen a hobbyist magazine?
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Philippe Burnel » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:17 am

Yes but it was... 30 years ago :lol:

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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:09 pm

Let us not fall into the trap of accusing people who reject some type of conduct of having done the same in the past. I don't think that is scientific. At any rate I don't believe in a "separation" between scientific and aquarist literature, each having its own readers and authors. I think good papers (and rubbish) are published in both categories.

Getting back to the topic (the validity of Microgeophagus Frey) Kullander's argument rests on two specific points:

1. Frey did not use Microgeophagus as a valid name.
As stated earlier Frey conditionally proposed the new generic name, the condition being: "if Apistogramma ramirezi is to be removed from Apistogramma, it should be placed in the genus Microgeophagus". I don't think there is anything wrong with this condition. The fact that he does not use this new combination consistently in his book does (in my view) not undo this valid nomenclatural act. Nor does the use of the old combination in his later books. Not even if he had changed his mind.
The provision "used as valid when proposed" entered the Code in 1985. I wonder what the relevance of this remark is. In earlier editions of the Code (and in the Règles) no such provision was present. And I strongly doubt that a once available name would become unavailable as of 1985. So under which provision (in the Règles, edition 1, edition 2) would the name Microgeophagus be unavailalbe?

2. There is no definite unambiguous designation of the type species.
This provision is really old and was already present in the Règles. But Kullander's interpretation of the word "möglicherweise" when it comes to the generic assignment of ramirezi is wrong. It does not say anything more than repeating the possibility of the erection of the new genus. And certainly not that the genus Microgeophagus, once established, might not include ramirezi. But apart from that, ramirezi cannot be anything else than the type species of Microgeophagus, simply because it is the only species mentioned in relation to the new genus: type by monotopy (art. 68).
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:49 pm

Willem Heijns wrote:Let us not fall into the trap of accusing people who reject some type of conduct of having done the same in the past. I don't think that is scientific.
With all due respect Willem, I don't see you point. I run a site. I am not scientific and I don't pretend to be.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Willem Heijns » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:48 pm

I don't want to be offensive Juan Miguel, I was merely referring to the fact that Kullander's explicit rejection of scientific information being published in aquarist media has led to some awkward discussions. Saying that he has done the same thing in the past (i.e. your reference) might trigger such a discussion.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by michi tobler » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Hi all,
I just worked through Kullander's account and I have to say he makes a solid, well-argued case for Mikrogeophagus. Particularly, I think his translations and interpretations of German texts are spot on. Also, in general, I do agree with the major problem he is highlighting. Scientific inquiry is - or at least should be - based on quantitative data and rigorous peer-review. I agree that this does not always guarantee well grounded studies. But regarding aquarium publications as equal sources to peer-reviewed work is a stretch. Just like a study published in Nature or Science is not viewed equal to a publication in the Journal of Fish Biology. This is not to say that hobbyist publications have no merit (I still like to publish observational studies in such journals), but Kullander is right that particularly regarding taxonomic studies, work published in lay journals have in the past caused more disorganization than anything else. As I wrote together with other scientists a few years back in an article in the Datz, I encourage any hobbyist to be engaged in scientific inquiry. But if they choose to do so, they have to subject themselves to the same scrutiny as scientists if they want their work to be considered in the same way.
Just my 10 cents... MiKrogeophagus is it at last!
Cheers, m
Last edited by michi tobler on Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by michi tobler » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:58 pm

Oh... here is a link to the Datz article: http://www.sulfide-life.info/mtobler/im ... 5_Datz.pdf
Sorry... only in German.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:18 pm

Michi, I think there is no discussion that any article that involves taxonomic acts or any type of scientific discovery must abide to a rigorous scrutiny, in a scientific publication or a popular publication alike. Of course that the degree on which both type of publications comply with this is unfortunately variable and many times deficient. We have discussed this before I think.

I was aware of Sven arguments about Mikrogeophagus because of the CICHLID-L where if I remember correctly Martin Geerts exposed them and Sven crowned them with the finding of Mikrogeophagus (Martin advocated Microgeophagus), which appeared to me that he made in the research of the topic. Anyways you may not have noticed, but this site since 1996 has listed Mikrogeophagus as valid and you can read the genus profile that hasn't changed since the opening of this page back in May 1996. This is so since I have felt there is no arguments strong enough to change them. So Sven's article did not come to me as an illumination. And even so I have followed the discussion on this thread with interest as solid intelligent points have been expressed about the situation, that have brought new light into this problem.

I just don't like this thread to be disregarded in such a way as " Aquarists in social media were very fast to cover Isbrücker (2011, in the May issue), embracing the suggested change of name already on 22 April 2011 (cichla 2011). ". As I exposed, this site is a place to confront ideas and knowledge, it is not a valid taxonomic publication and ideas flow freely and nobody is embracing anything, and people make mistakes and change their minds as you can see by comparing statements in this thread and with others, like the Perca bimaculata thread. Those mistakes are better made here than in publications. This is all about this place, to discuss ideas and learn.

I felt Sven statements like saying if it is not my view then is not worth it because it was made by ignorants just awaiting for others (big brother) to tell them what to think, perhaps I am being too harsh but reading the whole context of his article this is how I view it. Sven arguments after all were not made public before as Ingo expressed. Also, as I said I certainly do not agree on the confiability of Fishbase as an authority, particularly versus the Cichlid Room Companion.

I also don't agree with his proposal that popular magazines editors should add a clause that everything they publish should not be made taxonomically available. Many important taxonomic publications have been made available in popular magazines, that is why I brought in Kullander's description. Also Miller published the description of Theraps wesseli in TFH, and many more, and nobody challenges that. In fact, I believe the British Association brought in the Strickland Rules, the Régles and the ICZM with that spirit as has remained so for a reason, that everybody following the correct procedure could name a species, not just a group of selected individuals that make money out of it (not because descriptions are payed but because it helps in their careers ... and many times egos), the code I feel was made with that philosophy and I don't like to see it challenged, I just don't agree. Also, I believe Science is for all not just professionals, as far as each can get in their possibilities and wishes, just remember Michael Faraday or Johann Heckel .

Finally, please don't take this as you are a scientist and I am lecturing you, I am just giving you my opinion.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by michi tobler » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:26 am

Hi Juan and all,
Juan Artigas wrote:I was aware of Sven arguments about Mikrogeophagus because of the CICHLID-L where if I remember correctly Martin Geerts exposed them and Sven crowned them with the finding of Mikrogeophagus (Martin advocated Microgeophagus), which appeared to me that he made in the research of the topic. Anyways you may not have noticed, but this site since 1996 has listed Mikrogeophagus as valid and you can read the genus profile that hasn't changed since the opening of this page back in May 1996. This is so since I have felt there is no arguments strong enough to change them. So Sven's article did not come to me as an illumination. And even so I have followed the discussion on this thread with interest as solid intelligent points have been expressed about the situation, that have brought new light into this problem.
Oh, I agree. Nonetheless, given all the over contributions over the last years that came to different conclusions, you have to say this is a very rigorous account.
I just don't like this thread to be disregarded in such a way as " Aquarists in social media were very fast to cover Isbrücker (2011, in the May issue), embracing the suggested change of name already on 22 April 2011 (cichla 2011). ". As I exposed, this site is a place to confront ideas and knowledge, it is not a valid taxonomic publication and ideas flow freely and nobody is embracing anything, and people make mistakes and change their minds as you can see by comparing statements in this thread and with others, like the Perca bimaculata thread. Those mistakes are better made here than in publications. This is all about this place, to discuss ideas and learn.
I did not perceive Kullander's statements - particularly in regards to this site - as disregarding. Nobody thinks this platform is a valid taxonomic publication. And I am sure, hobbyists and scientists (at least myself, but I know of many others), appreciate this forum for what it is: a place to broadly disseminate and critically discuss cichlids and research done to understand them. I think what Sven tried to criticize is that many people - and I'm sure this pertains to hobbyists and scientists alike - are often set in their ways, consciously or unconsciously pushing an agenda without scrutinizing their perceptions. The thing is that voicing your opinion regarding taxonomy in a published (printed) way can unfortunately lead to the problems Kullander highlights in the first place.
I also don't agree with his proposal that popular magazines editors should add a clause that everything they publish should not be made taxonomically available. Many important taxonomic publications have been made available in popular magazines, that is why I brought in Kullander's description. Also Miller published the description of Theraps wesseli in TFH, and many more, and nobody challenges that. In fact, I believe the British Association brought in the Strickland Rules, the Régles and the ICZM with that spirit as has remained so for a reason, that everybody following the correct procedure could name a species, not just a group of selected individuals that make money out of it (not because descriptions are payed but because it helps in their careers ... and many times egos), the code I feel was made with that philosophy and I don't like to see it challenged, I just don't agree. Also, I believe Science is for all not just professionals, as far as each can get in their possibilities and wishes, just remember Michael Faraday or Johann Heckel .
I actually think that Kullander makes an excellent proposition when he says that popular magazine editors should add a clause that published articles should not be made taxonomically available. This would avoid problems with erroneous statements and involuntary or accidental nomenclatural acts. As I stated before (and in the Datz article), this does not mean that such magazines cannot publish quality scientific work, but I think there should be a higher bar for those. I.e., if the authors (and editors) desire their work to be recognized as a scientific contribution, there should be a rigorous peer-review process. This is something magazines can implement, if they desire to do so. Peer-reviewed papers could be simply declared as such. I also want to emphasize that hobbyists that make quality contributions should have no problems submitting their work to scientific journals. To me, this would be a far more desirable integration between science and hobby than starting to regard aquarium publications as equal to peer-reviewed science journals.
I am sure you know that I hold the firm believe that science is for everybody. That is the reason why I spend much time trying to reach people beyond the professional circle of biologists, and why - even after more than 10 years in academia - I still dabble in the hobby. To me, scientific inquiry is futile if I cannot tell my findings to a broader audience. As a fish biologist, my broader audience inadvertently are people that like fish, aquarists. I do not only appreciate the profound interest and curiosity hobbyists display, but also their solid knowledge. Who taught me my first lessons in viewing fish through the lens of science? Heinz Buescher and Robert Guggenbuehl, both very accomplished hobbyists. Heinz authored many outstanding papers on Lake Tanganyika cichlids, including first descriptions, most of which were published in the Datz. Who do I go to when I need some hints about collecting fish? I visit with you and many friends in the ACA that collect on a regular basis in places where I have research interests. Who do I go to when we have fish maintenance problems in the lab? I contact my friends at the ALA, where I get the best advice. Clearly, I do not believe that hobbyists should leave their hands off science. But I do think that if you do have scientific aspirations, you need to live up to the standards of the pros. I think that it is not asked to much, and if a contribution really has the quality that it should be considered by other experts in the field, it should not have any difficulty to pass that bar. Not to forget, the peer-review process is not some sort of guillotine that tries to prevent hobbyists from making contributions. It's away to assess and improve the quality of a paper. In most cases, this means that authors actually receive constructive suggestions about how their work could be improved. If you're serious about your science, how would you want to avoid that?
To me it is always baffling what controversies arise over simply naming fish. Honestly, I find it quite boring, and the efforts of people involved in this mighty task often remind me more of work lawyers do than work biologists do. To me, taxonomy is about creating a universal and most importantly stable language that allows us to communicate with each other. I am pretty happy that I am not involved in taxonomy (I'd rather focus on other questions). Not being an expert in the area, I appreciate Kullander's point of trying to reduce complicating factors in nomenclature. If the goal really is to have a stable way to name our fish, we want to avoid as many accidental nomenclatural acts as possible. And, I think ignoring non-peer-reviewed contributions would not be a bad thing in these days where you can get pretty much anything printed on paper that you want to.
So, just to summarize: I do think Kullander highlights a valid problem, and I think his proposed solutions are reasonable. To me, however, this does not mean any attempt to preclude hobbyists in any way to contribute to scientific inquiry at all, but if you want to be taken seriously then you also have be serious about your work.
Cheers, m
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by cichla » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:22 pm

Well, I realize that this forum has a huge impact to the nomenclature of cichlid fish taxa and that it is used and cited by aquarists and scientists. Just an example my phrase ''Mikrogeophagus versus Microgephagus an epic battle in the history of nomenclature'' was cited in different fish forum only few hours after I posted it here. In contrast to Kullander the guy who copied it doesnt credited this forum. :( ;-)

Kullander (2011) complain that this forum distributed new information very fast. Please accept and realize that we are living in the internet age. I strongly support the contributions by Juan (see above) and what he says about the meaning of this forum. It is not that anybody embracing anything. This forum is there to distribute new information and to discuss results. I do not see any reason why I (or anybody else) should stop to do so (distributing information about new publications). I can not speak for Juan, but his posts implies that he does not accept any kind of censorship.

What I have learned by Kullander's (2011) article is that he ''fools'' us (at least me) with his 1977 (also 1980 and 1981) paper. His contribution was published in a ''scientific journal''. Now it turns out that the peer-review system doesn't work well ;-), because nobody of the reviewer recognized that Papiliochromis Kullander 1977 was already published by Meulengracht-Madsen in 1975 and is even a synonym of Mikrogeophagus Meulengracht-Madsen 1968 . And what shocked me most is that the brilliant name Papiliochromis was not created by Kullander but was described in a Swedish
aquarium book. :o

So, it seems that my major mistake was to to believe that Kullander's 1977 paper is a reliable publication. Shame on me. ;-)

disclaimer: “This publication is disclaimed for purposes of Zoological Nomenclature in accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, Fourth Edition, Articles 8.3 and 8.4. No new names or nomenclatural changes are available from statements in this article/publication“

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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by michi tobler » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:42 pm

Hi Ingo,
I am not sure how to interpret your sarcasm, but as I stated before I do not agree with this kind of interpretation of Kullander's contribution.
As for your "fooling" comment, I can only cite Konrad Lorenz: "It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young."
Cheers, m
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Juan Artigas » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:49 pm

Thanks Ingo, quite well put. @Michi, Thanks for your comments, we know you don't agree.
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Thomas Andersen » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:55 am

I very much agree with both of you, Juan Miguel and Ingo. I'm stunned by Kullanders citing of this forum, and his complaints on the distribution of new informations.

I think the dichotomy Kullander presents is quite extreme: science vs. hobbyist or right vs. wrong, or maybe I should say good vs. evil.......

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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:45 pm

So Kullander's work is finally out. At least 13 years too late I would say, but at least this is a fact he recognizes himself (Kullander 2011: p. 36):
Unfortunately, a supporting document was not published, and it was never really clarified why Microgeophagus of Frey is unavailable or why Mikrogeophagus is the oldest available name.
In the light of this neglect, it is certainly not at all justified to blame the hobby literature alone for the never-ending discussion in this particular case.

I will take a closer look at the "hobbyists vs. scientists" issue in a later post, but now now let us to return for a moment to the original topic, i. e. the question of the valid generic name for the 'Ram'. I have read Kullander's paper several times and have tried to examine carefully his arguments for Microgeophagus Frey being not available. In the synonymy (p. 37), he lists the following points:
Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, p 52 (unavailable; nomen nudum; no type species, not treated as valid, no diagnosis of
genus; no species included)
No type species: if it weren't for the last point (see below), Apistogramma ramirezi would automatically be the type species by monotypy. An express designation is not required in this case (see Article 68.3).

Absence of a diagnosis: Kullander (p. 39) makes no comment other than:
it is doubtful if any distinguishing characters are reported, as required by Article 13,
Actually, there's no big difference in this respect between Microgeophagus Frey and Mikrogeophagus Meulengracht-Madsen except that the authors use different characters. Frey (1957) writes in the introduction of the genus Apistogramma that the brood is mostly tended by the females and only exceptionally by the males; under A. ramirezi he states, that both sexes actively care for their offspring.

Not treated as valid: I have my doubts that a conditional proposal of a name should be interpreted as requiring such a rigid statement like "If the taxon is valid it will have the name ....". Unfortunately, the code doesn't tell it exactly, and no example is given to Article 11.5.1 or Article 15. However, the example to Article 11.9.3.6 (which itself is not relevant here) mentiones Cubiceps Lowe, 1843 (currently placed in family Nomeidae) as a conditionally proposed generic name. In the original work, the following statement is made in the context of the discussed relationships of a newly described species, Seriola gracilis Lowe, 1843 (p. 82):
Still it is not unlikely that a comparision of the two species may warrant, on some future occasion, their separation from Seriola into a genus, which may be called Cubiceps
Although Cubiceps is now on the Official List of available generic names and therefore not affected by any kind of interpretation what a conditional proposal of a name could be, its inclusion as an example in the Code gives us a hint what the authors of the Code understand by it. Indeed, this finding was the reason why I was up to now so convinced that Microgeophagus Frey is available. There are many more examples of conditionally proposed names (and I have checked only fishes) some of which were established in a quite similar manner, e.g. the genera Channomuraena Richardson, 1848 (Muraenidae), Hucho Günther, 1866 (Salmonidae) and Hoplotilapia Hilgendorf, 1888 (Cichlidae), or the species Tilapia nilotica rukwaensis Hilgendorf & Pappenheim, 1903 (Cichlidae, now Oreochromis rukwaensis) and Tilapia fuelleborni Hilgendorf & Pappenheim, 1903 (Cichlidae, now Haplochromis fuelleborni). Therefore, if Kullander is correct in this point, there could well be reasons to reconsider the availability of all these names.

No species included This is a new point of objection against the availability of Microgeophagus. Let us take a look at the code:
67.2. Species eligible for type fixation (originally included nominal species). A nominal species is only eligible to be fixed as the type species of a nominal genus or subgenus if it is an originally included nominal species.

67.2.5. A nominal species is deemed not to be originally included if it was doubtfully or conditionally included, or was cited as a species inquirenda, or as a species incertae sedis.
Willem Heijns wrote: But Kullander's interpretation of the word "möglicherweise" when it comes to the generic assignment of ramirezi is wrong. It does not say anything more than repeating the possibility of the erection of the new genus. And certainly not that the genus Microgeophagus, once established, might not include ramirezi.
Although I am convinced that the entire code must be taken into account in evaluating the status of names or nomenclatiral acts, I must confess to have not even considered checking these articles, as it seemed logical to me that Apistogramma ramirezi, as the species which was the reason to suggest the establishment of a new genus, is to be regarded automatically as being originally included. Insofar, your interpretation, Willem, is fully comprehensible. However, we can little more but speculate about what Frey actually intended - in the end, the only thing that matters is what he has actually written:
"Evtl. neu aufzustellende Gattung aus der Familie der Buntbarsche oder Cichlidae (←), der möglicherweise Apistogramma ramirezi zuzurechnen ist."
Hans Frey expressed his suggestion in such a cautious and irresolute way that he has indeed managed somehow to include the species only conditionally in Microgeophagus. As the wording of the articles quoted above is rather unambiguous, we have indeed no other choice than to regard Apistogramma ramirezi as a species not originally included in Microgeophagus and thus not elegible for type fixation.

After all, I have to change my mind about the availability of Microgeophagus Frey, hopefully it is for the last time (Ingo, you know from our personal discussions that this is not for the first time:?). I think it is reasonable, now that we have finally the full argumentation, to follow Kullander's conclusion to accept Mikrogeophagus Meulengracht-Madsen as the oldest available, and thus valid, generic name for the "Ram" and his Bolivian brother. Even if some doubts will perhaps remain and the most arguments brought forward by Kullander are somewhat debatable - I think there's nothing gained anymore from the continued insistence on a name that was proposed under more than doubtful circumstances. Hans Frey's books have accompanied me through all of my early aquarist's career and they are still valuable as they contain lots of knowlegde now about to get lost. I think this is a much better monument to him than an at best questionable generic name linked with his name.

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cichla
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by cichla » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:27 pm

Kullander wrote: The “aquaristic science” is certainly challenged by the perpetuation of disinformation in a long series of articles from Frey (1957) to Isbrücker (2011).
Actually, the majority was badly informed by Kullander (1977) and the majority trust in that publication. Kullander (and his followers) have to realize that there were only few aquarists who used Microgeophagus Frey 1957 (I do not know anyone who used it continuously), but almost all used Papiliochromis Kullander 1977 or Mikrogeophagus. Juan used Mikrogeophagus and did not changed it the name in the Catalog (see posts by Juan above). Why is that not acknowledged by Kullander?

Well, now it turns out that Isbrücker (2011) was wrong to suggest the changing of the name. But does a simple error justify such a polemic attack?

Why I used Isbrücker (2011) as a reliable publication:
(1)it was published in the peer-reviewed journal DATZ. For instance the revision of the genus Symphysodon (including the revalidation of
Symphysodon tarzoo) by Kullander himself was published in DATZ. Since nobody challenged the taxonomic publications by Kullander, Kottelat and Büscher
printed in DATZ, I think it is quite ok to treat Isbrücker's article also as available and reasonable.
(2)Isbrücker is a well known author of taxonomic papers. Together with Kullander he was an editor of IEF.

Rico Morgenstern
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Re: Microgeophagus Frey, 1957, is a valid genus

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:04 pm

Rico Morgenstern wrote:I will take a closer look at the "hobbyists vs. scientists" issue in a later post
In contrast to the main section of the paper, which for the first time provides full and altogether comprehensible (though partly debatable as shown above) explanation for Mikrogeophagus Meulengracht-Madsen being the oldest available name for this cichlid genus, the "Discussion" section contains several unproved statements and unjustified generalizations, which do not justice to the pretensions of a serious scientific contribution. Although Kullander claims that his paper "examines the role of ornamental fish literature in managing information that is mainly scientific, including nomenclatural acts", the relevant part is unfortunately far from being a careful, complete and unbiased analysis.

First of all, the difficulties regarding "Mi(c)krogeophagus - Papiliochromis" have long been known. As shown in the above discussion and in all the contributions by Gery, Robins & Bailey, Allgayer, Isbrücker and Geerts, it is not a simple case for application of most of the nomenclatoral rules relevant here is to some extent a matter of interpretation. Until the present publication, no convincing arguments have been brought forward for Microgeophagus Frey being unavailable, and people using that name have thought to follow the Code as have those using Papiliochromis. Therefore, the 'true science' is at least partially to blame for allowing the confusion to persist. To accuse the aquarist literature of attempting "to run a parallel nomenclature" (Kullander 2011: 49) or to blame us for distributing "amalgamated disinformation" (p. 47) is thus absolutely out of place here.

Second, apart from the fact that the medium of publication cannot be taken as a measure for quality of a work, none of the problems such as difficult accessibilty and ill referencing are restricted to hobby literature alone. Often, however, it is anyway rather a question of carefulness in literature research. Revisional work, which does not contain new taxa, is particularly prone to disregard, irrespective of the author and the publishing medium. Overlooked or disregarded nomenclatural acts are of course annoying when their rediscovery requires name changes. However, once detected and properly explained (that means such name changes are to be made transparent), they should pose little difficulties except for the discomfort to relearn. The problem of inadvertently established names is remedied by Art. 16.1 of the current Code, as correctly pointed out by Kullander, and all other nomenclatoral acts may equally remain 'hidden' in the purely scientific literature.

Third, and this is what I find particularly objectionable, Kullander seems not to be fully aware of the reasons why hobbyists deal with taxonomic and nomenclatoral questions. He assumes that it is all about getting famous or achieving some sort of 'immortality', for the author's name is forever linked with the name of a taxon. This is what Kullander calls 'mihi itch' (mihi = to me [latin], see http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2008/f/zt01890p068.pdf for a history of the term). Certainly, one cannot deny that it is one reason, the case of Badis badis bengalensis is a particular striking example. However, it seems not to occur to Kullander that some people may have a real interest in contributing to the knowlegde and taxonomic coverage of the species diversity, or that aquarists may have access to characters of fishes which would remain undiscovered if only the more or less well-preserved mortal remains, at best complemented by some field photos or notes, can be examined. Another, perhaps the most important, motivation for discussing and researching taxonomic and/or nomenclatoral issues (though not directly resulting in the description of new taxa) is the simple interest in applying the proper scientific names.

Errors can happen, and of course there are examples of lousy descriptions, revisions etc. in the aquarium literature, but there are numerous high-standard works as well. Anyway, there is the same broad range of quality in the purely scientific literature, indicating that the peer-review system does not always work as it should. Nevertheless, commercial aquarium magazines (not to mention aquarium books) may be no longer the proper places to establish new scientific names, for they have to compete with other media, particularly the www, and do therefore adopt their content more and more to the ephemerality which coins so many aspects of our 'modern' society.

Be that as it may,
I wish you all a happy New Year!
Rico

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