[tdwg-content] What is an Occurrence? [what about the "token"]

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Sun Oct 17 21:36:10 CEST 2010

On Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>wrote:

> > Various TDWG'ers continue to argue that the original description
> > and subsequent revisions were really important in determining
> > what these individuals actually meant when they assigned a name
> > to a specimen, and that this is how we should model it in
> > excruciating detail.
> Most of the "TDWG'ers" that I know are FULLY aware that many "modern" taxon
> concepts are not congruent to the concepts as originally cirumscribed when
> a
> Code-compliant name was first established.  Obviously, the more recent the
> original description, the more congruent the original taxon concept will be
> to a "modern" concept.
This was a bit of a "straw man" but I think what we would both agree that
annotating the identification to the "concept" "as described by the key"
would more accurately represent the assertion that was made. It is as if
there is pressure to make documenting the identification process more "code
compliant" than making it accurately reflect what happened.

In my experience with my bugs and and some of the mammals, the original
descriptions and subsequent revisions are not as informative as some in the
community portray them. They often do not serve as good guides as to what
specimens are instances of that concept and what specimens are not.

Also, maybe some one can tell me where the type specimen is for *Culex
triseriatus* Say, 1823 is? (*Aedes triseriatus*/*Ochlerotatus triseriatus*)

Perhaps the species descriptions need to be done in a way that they serve
both as a description and as a "key element". Descriptions that are more
informative as to what specimens are instances of that species concept and
what specimens are not.

Also, that perhaps the Code should be revised to fit the biology, rather
than trying to get the biology and related databases to fit the Code.


- Pete

> The reason why it's important to be cognizant of original descriptions of
> names is to ensrue that when one applies a taxon name to a modern concept,
> the modern concept includes within its circumscription the type specimen
> for
> the name that is used.  The original description is relevant primarily for
> nomenclatural purposes, and to ensure that a modern taxon concept does not
> exclude the type specimen for the name being applied to the modern concept.
> Subsequent revisions *are* important to modern concepts, because those are
> the places where real taxon concept definitions (e.g., the sort that are
> used when people construct keys) are documented.
> > For example, how many of the species observed in the recent
> > BioBlitz were identified by referring to the original
> > species description or subsequent revisions?
> Probably none.  More likely they were identified to field guides, and the
> field guides more than likely base their concept boundaries (=implied
> synonimies) on a (relatively) recent taxonomic work.
> Aloha,
> Rich

Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
TaxonConcept Knowledge Base <http://www.taxonconcept.org/> / GeoSpecies
Knowledge Base <http://lod.geospecies.org/>
About the GeoSpecies Knowledge Base <http://about.geospecies.org/>
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