Message 2001-02-0039: species and clades

Thu, 08 Feb 2001 15:10:09 -0600

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Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 15:10:09 -0600
From: "David M. Hillis" <>
Subject: species and clades

I haven't been able to keep up with all my e-mail today, so I 
apologize in advance if the following point has been covered by 
others. Regarding:

>Draft item (Rule 10.2?) for PhyloCode, Article 10
>10.2  Until rules for the formal recognition of species-entities are
>admitted to the Code, names which, in standard practice outside this Code,
>hold the rank of genus or subgenus may not be converted to clade names.

Such a rule is may not be clear to everyone on the 
listserv that the plan is to include rules for naming species before 
the code is adopted. To do otherwise would indeed create massive 
problems. We just haven't settled on those species-naming rules yet. 
We've had extensive discussions about this point in the past, and 
many (most?) of us would not want to adopt any code that didn't 
include rules for both clades and species. We just haven't written 
the species rules yet.

I do NOT think we want to avoid converting clades that were genera or 
subgenera...under the Zoology Rules, at least, any group name that is 
below a genus is considered a subgenus, even if it is called by 
another rank (section, division, whatever). [An interesting 
by-product of this rule is that subgenera within subgenera are 
possible under ICZN, so that the Linnean system is not inherently 
hierarchical (or rather, the hierarchy of ranks can be forcibly 
misleading)]. I think a lot of the new clades of interest would be 
below the rank of the existing genera, so if proposed as new names, 
they would be recognized as subgenera by the existing codes. I have a 
manuscript in press in which I had to address this issue for a bunch 
of new clades (technically subgenera under the ICZN rules) of 
salamanders, and I have another in the works on frogs. In both cases, 
I call the new clades new clades, but they will be subgenera under 
ICZN rules.

David Hillis

David M. Hillis
Director, School of Biological Sciences
Director's office: 512-232-3690 (FAX: 512-232-3699)
Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor
Section of Integrative Biology
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
Research Office: 512-471-5792
Lab: 512-471-5661
FAX: 512-471-3878


Feedback to <> is welcome!