Comments on the proposed conservation of the usage of the generic name of Drosophila Fallén, 1823 (Insecta, Diptera) by fixation of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830 as type species. 1 (Case 3407)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:H. Silfverberg
Journal:Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
Volume:65
Issue:3
Start Page:214
Pagination:214-215
Date Published:09/2008
Type of Article:Comment
ISSN:0007-5167
Full Text

I wish to express my strong support for the application. Drosophila melanogaster is one of the few names in zoology that are recognised as such within numerous biological disciplines, and it is one of the first names that every student of biology meets having entered the field. As such its preservation is a matter of importance far beyond the field of taxonomy. As the object of the Code of Nomenclature is to promote stability and universality, it is difficult to think of a case where a decision by the Commission would be more important.
As the situation is now, the genus Drosophila includes a huge number of species, and it is well known that many specialists would prefer to divide it into more natural groups, were it not for the fact that melanogaster would belong to another genus; the expected confusion has been a strong deterrent. In fact, here the nomenclature rules have actually interfered with systematic work. To agree to the proposal would free research. As of yet, the genus has not been dismembered, and a change of subgeneric names would be a matter concerning a comparatively small number of taxonomists.
There have been numerous trifling cases, where usage has been preserved for names that only specialists recognise, and in my opinion no real confusion would have resulted, even if many of those names had been changed. This case is different, its implications are of the widest nature, and I hope the Commission will approve the application.

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