On the illegitimate status of genus Ceratiopsis

24 July, 2009
 In May 1992 I was contacted by a collaborator of the Index Nominum Genericorum in Utrecht. She wrote:

”Recently I met your article in Taxon 34: 670—671, 1985, stating that Ceratiopsis was not validly published by Vozzhennikova 1963: 181. As far as I can see, however, in 1963: 181, there is one species only, thus the name was validly published under art. 42. Please tell me from which you drew the conclusion that the genus comprised three species.”

My answer was simple:

“My conclusion that the genus Ceratiopsis comprised three species is drawn simply from the original text by Tamara Vozzhennikova, which states in Russian “ТРИ ВИДА” (tri vida) = three species.”

The reply from the ING collaborator was a little surprising:

”I would be inclined to say that Note 1 to Art. 42 applies: ‘… the author may indicate that other species are attributable to the genus.’ I suppose that this has been [another ING collaborator’s] interpretation as well, when he made ING’s entry for Ceratiopsis.”

Surprising, because the Article 42 has no notes at all!

My Taxon article was published in 1985 and I had to use the Code edition that was really published and effective at that time. That code article 42 deals with publication of the name of a monotypic new genus. As stated in Vozzhennikova’s original paper the genus comprised three species (Russian: “tri vida”) so it evidently was not monospecific.

By changing the rules of the Code it is possible for the international congresses to keep scientists of the world busy working with reinterpretations of previous results. I do not want to join such a play.

On the internet there are links to two references (link 1 and link 2) to Lentin & Williams, 1987. I have not seen that article.

However, my Taxon article 1985 have another point concerning the status of genus Ceratiospsis:

Ceratiopsis Vozzhennikova 1967 as name of a dinoflagellate genus is illegitimate and must be rejected, as it is a later homonym of Ceratiopsis De Wildeman 1896, which was validly published for a genus of fungi (ICBN 1978, Article 64).



De Wildeman, E., 1896.
Quelques notes sur la nomenclature générique des champignons. Bull. Séances Soc. Belge Microsc. 22 (6): 108—119. Bruxelles.
International code of botanical nomenclature, adopted by the twelfth international botanical congress, Leningrad, July 1975.
Utrecht, 1978: Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema. ISBN 90-313-0332-1.
Lentin, J.K. & Williams, G.L. 1987.
Status of the fossil dinoflagellate genera Ceratiopsis Vozzhennikova 1963 and Cerodinium Vozzhennikova 1963 emend. Palynology, 11: 113—116.
Lindgren, S., 1984.
Acid resistant peridinioid dinoflagellates from the Maastrichtian of Trelleborg, southern Sweden. (Summary in Russian.) Stockholm Contrib. Geol., 39(6): 145—201. Stockholm. ISSN 0585-3532. ISBN 91-22-00519-6. — Buy at the lowest prices among books in Sweden.
Lindgren, S., 1985.
Nomenclatural notes on fossil peridinioid dinoflagellates. Taxon, 34 (4): 670—671. Utrecht. ISSN 0040-0262.
Vozzhennikova, T.F., 1963.
Tip Pyrrophyta. Pirrofitovye vodorosli (in Russian, Algae of Pyrrophyta). In: Osnovy paleontologii. Spravochnik diya paleontologov i geologov SSSR, tom (14) “Vodorosli …” p. 171—195. Izd. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Moskva, 698 p.