Case 3548 A proposal for the treatment of Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes by De Geer (1752–1778) and the additional volume by Retzius (1783)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:Welter-Schultes, FW, Wieland, F
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Start Page:3
Date Published:03/2012
Type of Article:Case
Keywords:Arthropoda, Chelicerata, De Geer, early zoological literature, Insecta, Nomenclature, Retzius, taxonomy

We analysed the eight volumes of Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes, published between 1752 and 1778 by De Geer, and an additional volume published by Retzius in 1783. We found that none of these works was consistently binominal. A great number of names of taxa of many insect and other arthropod groups that were established in those works are currently widely accepted and used, and regarding them as unavailable would cause an unnecessary amount of confusion and taxonomical instability. De Geer (1752) is a pre-Linnaean publication and the two parts of volume 2 (1771a, b) did not contain any Latin names. We propose that the works published by De Geer (1773, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1778) and Retzius (1783) be ruled to be available as binominal works and 140 polynominal names mentioned therein be suppressed, mostly for being identified as polynominal. Among the polynominal names included in these volumes were the very commonly used names for human lice (Pediculus humanus capitis and P. humanus corporis) which De Geer regarded as different species, not as subspecies of P. humanus. We suggest that P. h. capitis be considered available and that P. h. corporis be suppressed (the latter being commonly regarded as a synonym of P. h. humanus Linnæus, 1758 in modern biology and medicine). Generic names established as compound words connected with a hyphen should generally be regarded as binominal and available, but we propose to suppress De Geer’s spider names Aranealupus, Araneaphalangium and Araneacan- croides for the purposes of the Principle of Priority, but not for those of the Principle of Homonymy.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith