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Cnemidophorus inornatus and the standard common name debate


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Posted by paalexan on April 15, 2003 at 21:48:41:

So, having seen Cnemidophorus pai and Cnemidophorus arizonae mentioned on another forum and having never heard of them, I do some searching online and in a biological abstract search engine and come up with nothing better than:

`Wright & Lowe (1993) described five new U. S. races of this lizard, arizonae, gypsi, and pai (all allopatric), and juniperus and llanurus (both parapatric). Walker et al. (1996) proposed synonymizing the races juniperus and llanurus. Collins (1997), presented the conclusions of Wright & Lowe (1993) and Walker et al. (1997) to lizard systematist group, composed of Robert Bezy, Charles J. Cole, Darrel Arnold Kluge, Jimmy McGuire, Richard Montanucci, Robert Powell, and John Wiens, and the majority of those individuals responding recommended juniperus and llanurus not be recognized, and that arizonae, gypsi, and pai all be considered distinct species. Collins (1997) followed those recommendations. [from: http://eagle.cc.ukans.edu/~cnaar/lacertilia.html]'
(from http://www.reptile-database.org--http://eagle.cc.ukans.edu/~cnaar/lacertilia.html is defunct, and no equivalent information appears to be presented on Collins' list's current home, http://www.naherpetology.org)

So... whether the common names come out being stable or not, it looks like this common standard name list ends up with the result that systematic changes are being made behind the scenes without a case for them being presented in an academic arena. As I'm not too familiar with ICZN, I'm wondering: do these changes have any validity within the code, or are they simply incorrect usages? Is there any (non-political) reason to accept them?

And of course, in reference to the previous thread, I have to ask: Isn't a list of standard common names going to do nothing more than confuse the issue if the list uses incorrect systematic names? It's worth mentioning that I've seen Collins' use of `Elaphe emoryi' cause quite a bit of confusion already...

Patrick Alexander




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