Comment on Tipula contaminata Linnaeus, 1758 (currently Ptychoptera contaminata; Insecta, Diptera): proposed conservation of prevailing usage through designation of a neotype (Case 3664; see BZN 71: 237–243)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:G. Mikalsen Kvifte, Hagenlund, L. Katrine, Rulik, B.
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Start Page:309
Date Published:12/2017
Type of Article:Comment
Full Text

In their recent revision of the holotype of Tipula contaminata Linnaeus, 1758, Fasbender & Courtney (BZN 71: 237–243) found the specimen to belong to TIPULIDAE and not to match the current concept of the species as near-universally accepted from Meigen (1803) onwards. Retaining Linnaeas’ original syntype as valid would threaten not only the species nomen, but also the stability of the genus name Ptychoptera Meigen, 1803 and the family-group name PTYCHOPTERIDAE Osten Sacken, 1862, both well-known and well-established nomina in dipteran taxonomy. Their proposed solution to the problem was to designate a Danish male specimen as neotype of the species, to preserve the concept of Ptychoptera contaminata as recognized by at least 22 different authors. We essentially agree with these interpretations and consider their proposal an elegant solution to the problem. Designating a neotype for a well-established species can be problematic if the taxonomic status of the species is questionable, e.g. if it forms part of a species complex. Luckily, the available evidence suggests that Ptychoptera contaminata is a valid species well delimited from other species of Ptychoptera in the Palearctic region. In our ongoing work on DNA barcoding of European PTYCHOPTERIDAE, Ptychoptera contaminata sequences form a distinct cluster separate from all other species (Fig. 1). The molecular data set is available online at BOLD ( 10.5883/DS-EBPTYCH). In our analyses, sequence variability is low, with a maximum intraspecific p-distance of 1.61% (Fig.1). Furthermore, we are not aware of any morphological variation in P. contaminata to suggest any ambiguity in the concept outlined in Case 3664. In conclusion, we find Fasbender & Courtney’s argument compelling and recommend that the Commission follow both of their recommendations.

Fig. 1. Unrooted neighbour-joining phenogram of Ptychoptera CO1 sequences in GBOL and NorBOL, computed based on pairwise distances in MEGA6 (Tamura et al., 2013). BOLD accession numbers are given for each specimen.


DNA barcodes of European PTYCHOPTERIDAE are obtained through NorBOL, which is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre; and through GBOL, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF #01LI1101A).

Additional references

Tamura, K., Stecher, G., Peterson, D. & Kumar, S. 2013. MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 6.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30: 2725–2729.

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