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

 
 
Discussion on a Point of Beetle Nomenclature
(S159a: 1870)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: An account of brief discussion Wallace provided at the 21 February 1870 meeting of the Entomological Society of London, while serving as President of the ESL. Reported in the Society's Proceedings series for 1870. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S159A.htm


    [[p. 2110]] Mr. Pascoe requested the opinion of Members on a point of nomenclature. Dejean, in his Catalogue (ed. 1834), proposed the name Diurus for a genus of Brenthidæ; but no description was published until Pascoe himself gave the generic characters in 1862. In 1852 Motschulsky described a genus of Telephoridæ under the name Biurus, which in Gemminger and Harold's Catalogue (1869) is changed to Diurus, thus clashing with the genus of Brenthidæ. And the question was, for which of the two genera ought the name Diurus to be retained?

    [[p. 2111]] Several Members asked whether it was certain that no description of the Brenthid genus, no tabular statement, or comparative remarks sufficient to constitute a description of the genus, were published before 1862? And Mr. Pascoe replied, that though the genus and the name were adopted by Schönherr in 1840, and though Westwood had in 1848 described and figured a species, neither author had specified any generic characters.

    Many Members objected that no alteration of Motschulsky's name was admissible, and that Biurus ought to be retained. Mr. Bates protested strongly against the numerous alterations in names made by Gemminger and Harold.

    Mr. Dunning remarked that, according to the view promulgated in Mr. G. R. Crotch's paper recently read before the Society, the Brenthid genus was entitled to priority as from 1834: if this ground failed, there was something in the contention that the genus was well established by the publication of Westwood's figure in 1848. But even on the assumption that Diurus dated only from 1862, he maintained that the name ought to be applied to the genus of Brenthidæ. The publication of Biurus in 1852 left Diurus unoccupied in 1862; and the publication of Diurus in 1862 was a sufficient reason for not altering Biurus into Diurus in 1869. If Biurus must be altered on the ground of its hybrid formation, it cannot now be altered to Diurus, but must be altered to some unoccupied name; in other words, Biurus must be abandoned altogether, and a totally new name given to the genus of Telephoridæ.

    The President assented to the conclusion that the publication of Diurus in 1862 was a bar to the alteration of Biurus into Diurus in 1869. And it appeared to be the general opinion that Diurus ought to be retained for the genus of Brenthidæ.


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