|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2008|
|Authors:||D. T. Jones|
|Journal:||Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature|
|Type of Article:||Comment|
|Full Text|| |
The specific name Microcerotermes serratus (Froggatt, 1898) has been used since its publication to refer to an Australian termite, while the specific name M. serrula (Desneux, 1904) has been used since its publication to refer to a species from Southeast Asia. Because both names are invalid, Roisin & Pasteels (2000, p. 165) recommended the strict application of the Code to correct these names, which would necessitate the Southeast Asian species being called M. serratus(Haviland, 1898), and the Australian species being called M. parviceps Mjöberg, 1920. Roisin & Pasteels (BZN 64: 186) are correct in their assumption that I overlooked this recommendation (Roisin & Pasteels, 2000, p. 165), with the result that I continued to follow the prevailing trend and used the junior names. In 2006, on reading their correction, I applied for the conservation of both junior names (Case 3385; BZN 64: 83–86), an application that Roisin & Pasteels wish the Commission to reject (BZN 64: 185–187). My application cannot be described as ‘nomenclatural anarchy’ (Roisin & Pasteels, BZN 64: 187), as an application to the Commission asking for their ruling on this matter is the official method for resolving such disagreements over nomenclature.
(1) These names have been accepted and used by everyone who has published anything on these species, including all the recognised termite experts (Silvestri, Mjöberg, Hill, Gay, Watson, Miller, Grassé, Ahmad, Tho and Thapa) who have published on the Australian or Southeast Asian fauna. The only exceptions are Holmgren (1911), who subsequently adopted the use of the junior name in 1913, and Roisin & Pasteels (2000).
(2) The junior name M. serratus (Froggatt, 1898) has been used in every major publication on the termite fauna of Australia: Termites (Isoptera) from the Australian region (Hill, 1942), Termites of the Australian region (Gay & Calaby, 1970), The insects of Australia (Watson & Gay, 1991), Atlas of Australia termites(Watson & Abbey, 1993) and the Zoological catalogue of Australia (Watson et al., 1998). In regard to the Southeast Asian fauna, there are only two major publications available, Termites of Peninsular Malaysia (Tho, 1992) and Termites of Sabah (Thapa, 1981), and both of these use the junior name M. serrula(Desneux, 1904).
(3) Those of us who work on the termites of Southeast Asia or Australia are
Roisin & Pasteels’s desire to reject the application and to revert to the valid names ignores a huge potential cause of confusion. Everyone who studies either the Southeast Asian or the Australian fauna relies on the major publications listed above, all of which use the junior names. Also, any new researchers starting in either region will immediately turn to those same obvious sources for an authoritative view of the fauna. They might not consult a paper from an adjoining region entitled ‘The genus Microcerotermes (Isoptera: Termitidae) in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands’, and thus Roisin & Pasteels’s (2000) correction would go unnoticed. Reverting to the correct names would render all those major publications inaccurate. However, those publications will continue to be consulted, with the likely result that the junior names will continue to be used and published.
Ahmad, M. & Akhtar, M.S. 2002. Catalogue of the termites (Isoptera) of the Oriental region. Pakistan Journal of Zoology Supplement Series, 2: 1–86.
Comment on the proposed conservation of Termes serratus Froggatt, 1898 (currently Microcerotermes serratus) and Termes serrula Desneux, 1904 (currently Microcerotermes serrula) (Insecta, Isoptera, TERMITINAE) (Case 3385)