|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication:||2011|
|Authors:||Morris, MG, Barclay, MVL, Agassiz, D|
|Journal:||Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature|
|Type of Article:||Comment|
|Full Text|| |
We support the application by Balletto et al. (BZN 67: 129) to give precedence to Maculinea van Eecke, 1915 over Phengaris Doherty, 1891. The three main grounds are: (i) The importance to a wide range of users of the Maculinea butterfly-ant interactions that have been the subject of many recent papers in important biological journals and in which the generic name Maculinea has almost always been employed; (ii) The almost universal use of the generic name Maculinea for several butterfly species of considerable importance to conservationists; (iii) Protection of the stability of an animal name in use by numerous non-taxonomist stakeholders, whose opinion of, and respect for, zoological nomenclature and taxonomy in general may depend on the stability of just a few familiar names.
In arguing against the application, Fric et al. (BZN 67: 315) remarked that the authors of Case 3508 ‘fail to provide a taxonomically feasible way to preserve the name Maculinea’. However, there is no known taxonomic impediment to a straightforward application to plenary power to give precedence to Maculinea over Phengaris.
Fric et al. also gave a detailed account of the nomenclatural history of the Maculinea butterflies, but, with the exception of the idiosyncratic action of Nässig (1995) in synonymising Maculinea with Glaucopsyche, most of the detail relates to the period roughly up to the middle of the twentieth century. More recent work has seen Maculinea used in a majority of cases, particularly in the biological, evolutionary and conservation literature (as opposed to the strictly taxonomic). We do not agree with Fric et al.’s dismissal of the significance of prevailing usage in field guides, distribution atlases and other publications that they consider not to be of ‘major scientific importance’ (p. 315). On the contrary, the taxonomic community is by definition the most likely to understand and accept nomenclatural change, and it is the much larger non-taxonomic user base and their needs that the principle of stability seeks to protect. Recent experience has shown (e.g. Vane-Wright, 2011) that many non-taxonomic users are increasingly using alternative ‘vernacular’ nomenclatures (that lack the advantage of universality) and moving away from the use of scientific nomenclature, which is popularly perceived as legalistic, complicated and unstable. Any changes in the names of well-known organisms serve to reinforce this undesirable trend. For example, the recent uptake of Phengaris by some specialists and the continued use of Maculinea by others may be resulting in more use of the vernacular name ‘Large Blue’ (meaningless or misleading outside the U.K.) in recent British conservation literature. Furthermore, if Balletto et al. (2010) were to be unsuccessful, conservationists and ecologists, especially, are likely to continue to employ Maculinea. This would have the effect of dividing nomenclature into ‘official’ and ‘practical’ usages with detriment to the perception of the Code and Zoological Nomenclature among non-taxonomic communities.
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Home » Comments on the proposed precedence of Maculinea van Eecke, 1915 over Phengaris Doherty, 1891 (Lepidoptera, LYCAENIDAE) (Case 3508) 1
Comments on the proposed precedence of Maculinea van Eecke, 1915 over Phengaris Doherty, 1891 (Lepidoptera, LYCAENIDAE) (Case 3508) 1