Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
A Disputed Case of Priority in Nomenclature
(S42: 1858)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A note communicated to the Entomological Society of London's meeting of 3 May 1858, and later printed in their Proceedings series. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S042.htm


    [[p. 23]] "Allow me to call the attention of the Entomological Society to what seems to me a novel and most erroneous as well as inconvenient interpretation of the law of priority: it is, that of transferring a name long borne by one insect (but which it has lost by being found to be but a sex or variety) to another insect which has been erroneously referred to the same species. This has been done by the late Mr. Doubleday, who has changed Ornithoptera Remus, a name which for fifty years has been invariably borne by one well-known species, into O. Panthous, a name which for a still longer period has been applied to the female of O. Priamus. Such a change would be most inadvisable, even were the principle on which it was made a good one; whereas it is one which gives, as it were, a premium to error. Linnæus described the female of Priamus as a distinct species (Panthous) and Remus as the male of Panthous. Cramer corrected the latter error and figured the two sexes of Remus correctly, giving the species for the first time a distinct name. This name it appears to me cannot be changed for that of Linnæus, who erroneously supposed the species to be the same as one he had previously named, although that name has been reduced to a synonym. The two errors of Linnæus should not be allowed to take precedence of Cramer, who first correctly named the species. The question here raised is of importance because an analogous case is now open for decision. P. Darsius of G. R. Gray was previously figured by Doubleday as the male of Amphimedon. Now, Amphimedon is certainly the female of Helena, and, if the rule holds good, the new species Darsius must take the old name of Amphimedon, just as Remus has been made by Messrs. E. Doubleday and G. R. Gray, to take the name of Panthous. Such a practice will certainly not be generally followed, and I would humbly suggest that it is one of the duties of an Entomological [[p. 24]] Society, to check, by an expression of their opinion, all that tends still further to confuse the nomenclature and synonymy.

"Amboyna, January 1, 1858."


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