Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under threat

New cichlid species and taxonomy
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cichla
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Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under threat

Post by cichla » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:45 pm

Some leading taxonomists treat species names described as new in hobbyist journals as unavailable under the Code of Zoological Nomenclature. These authors are even renamed such species.

See here: Schleip, W. (2014): Two New Species of Leiopython Hubecht, 1879 (Pythonidae: Serpentes): Non-Compliance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature Leads to Unavailable Names in Zoological Nomenclature. Journal of Herpetology 48:272-275.
Kaiser, H. et al. (2013): Best practices: in the 21st Century, taxonomic decisions in herpetology are acceptable only when supported by a body of evidence and published via peerreview. Herpetological Review 44:8–23.

If this is confirmed then a lot of fish species named in the aquaristic press are in need to be renamed by taxonomists.

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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by Willem Heijns » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:04 pm

So the snakeman issue is making its entrance here? ;)
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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by michi tobler » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:14 pm

That's exactly what I thought (assuming you are referring to Ray Hoser)...
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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:53 am

Having followed the discussion about the doings of this guy elsewhere, it seems to me that the debates we had about certain taxa (e.g. Mik(c)rogeophagus, Symphysodon tarzoo, etc.) are negligible in comparision. While I fully sympathize with the herpetologists and understand that they spare no efforts to get rid of the 'problen', I think little is gained from renaming taxa based on a specific interpretation of a rather vague provision. The Maylandia-Metriaclima issue teaches us that this will lead only to never-ending useless discussions, which name is valid.

I think it's up to the International Commission on Nomenclature to properly handle the doings of that guy. Perhaps there's a chance that the discussion will lead to the formulization of clearer and more rigid criteria of publication and availability in a future edition of the code, which should, however, for sake of stability, not be retroactive.

Anyway, we must look from case to case. One of the underlying principles of the Code is the following:
(8) There is no "case law" in zoological nomenclature. Problems in nomenclature are decided by applying the Code directly, and never by reference to precedent. If the Commission is called on to make a ruling on a particular case, the decision relates to that case alone.
[although somewhat off-topic, I should admit here that I was in error in this respect when I commented here and elsewhere on Mikrogeophagus]

Even if they are right with respect to the particular publications mentioned there, this would not necessarily applicable to every hobby journal or book. The limits between hobby and science have always been blurred. Aquarium journals have been, from the beginning, covered by indexing systems such as Archiv für Naturgeschichte, Zoological Record and others. New scientific names proposed therein have never been questioned with regard to criteria of publication, even inadvertently established names have been validated (and sometimes even confirmed by the commission, see the case of the Black Paradisefish). Distinguished taxonomists such as Kullander, Trewavas, Miller and many others have once found it apprporiate to publish scientific contributions including descriptions of new taxa in French, German or U.S. aquarium journals. I have no doubts that these works are "issued for the purpose of providing a public and permanent scientific record", as the relavant article requires. Of course the world has changed, and with it the scope of commercial aquarium journals, therefore they are no longer the proper media for publishing orginal descriptions.

Be that as it may, it would be irresponsible to take the approach by the mentioned authors (albeit fully understandable in that particular context) as a precedent for renaming but a single fish species or genus merely on grounds of being originally named in an aquarium magazine or book. This would cause not only a lot of time consuming and superfluous work but also a serious destabilization of nomenclature. Don't let the plague that has infested herpetology spill over on ichthyology.

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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by cichla » Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Rico, thank you very much for the informative and comprehensive post.
I agree, except:
(1) New names published in aquaristic press were not accepted by ichthyologist <1955
(2) The case of the Black Paradisefish supported the view by Schleip, not yours [but this a story not concerning Cichlid fish}
Anyway, do not misunderstand me, I do not support the the interpretation of the code how it is published in Schleip 2014. I just report.

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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by Rico Morgenstern » Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:31 pm

cichla wrote:(1) New names published in aquaristic press were not accepted by ichthyologist <1955
Can you give an example? Remember, we are talking here about names considered "not published" in the sense of the Code (at least this is my interpretation of Schleipp's reasoning). Many names, mostly those established inadvertently (by proposing new "varieties" or publishing names before the actual scientific destription), have been ignored or considered unavailable on other grounds by ichthyologists (see for example Thys' [1968] erroneous conclusion on Pelmatochromis klugei Meinken: "The 1960-description is based only on live aquarium-specimens, no numeric data are given, no specimens were preserved, and this description thus is non valid") but I know of no case where a name has expressly been rejected for being "not published". In fact, no binding criteria at all for publication (except publication per se and the starting point of zoological nomenclature) had been formulated the precursors of the modern code (i.e. before 1961).

Other names published in the hobby literature in the early 20th century have very well been accepted by ichthyologists. The name of the very first fish species (as far as I am aware) originally described in an aquarium journal, Chromis [now Pseudocrenilabrus] multicolor Schoeller, 1903, was immediately accepted by Hilgendorf (1904) and Boulenger (1905). Another example 'famous' example is Thorichthys meeki Brind, 1918. Hubbs (1936) commented on this species: "Though the name was published in an aquarium journal and not very adequately described, and badly figured, Brind's name is available and should be used".
cichla wrote:(2) The case of the Black Paradisefish supported the view by Schleip, not yours [but this a story not concerning Cichlid fish}
This was intended (and rightly!), but unfortunately the Commission has ruled otherwise. I understand this one was not the best example, but I just meant to show that the authoritative commitee of nomenclature has obviously no principal objection against names published in hobby journals. Another (indeed 'pre-Code') example is the story of Cheirodon axelrodi vs. Hyphessobrycon cardinalis...

No doubt this is a cichlid forum, but in discussing nomenclatural issues, cichlids cannot be considered detached from other taxa. I presume this is why herpetological works could enter here :wink: .
cichla wrote:Anyway, do not misunderstand me, I do not support the the interpretation of the code how it is published in Schleip 2014. I just report.
I know of course, Ingo! My appeal was in no way directed to you, sorry if I didn't make that clear enough!

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Re: Species taxa described in hobbyist journals are under th

Post by cichla » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:25 pm

Dear Rico, Dear all,

Thanks you for your contribution. Yes, you are right, Rico. 'I give up'. I have some examples in Labyrinth-Fish in mind. But it does not matter!
I do not like the ' Black Paradisefish' example because the decision by the commission was not rational but political forced.

I just hope that the commission will stop the 'snake guy'. Otherwise. a 'nomenclature anachy' will take place, for sure.

Cichla

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