another trash name

Mon Sep 10 17:54:55 EDT 2001


	Norbert, even though we've never met, I could just about e-kiss 
you.  Don't worry, my wife is secure in our relationship and she 
knows it would be a collegial kiss.  It's just that you keep saying 
clearly what I've been trying to muddle through.

Norbert and Jaakko wrote about the genus Nymphalis and other 
"genera" that could be included in Nymphalis (such as Aglais, 
Inachis, Polygonia, etc.):

	BUT we can all still examine this information and
> draw completely different taxonomic rank interpretations. By way 
> of example we can treat these as one genus. . . We can also
> have numerous finely divided genera. Thirdly we can use the 
> subgenus category and for example treat Aglais as a subgenus 
of Nymphalis.

Norbert also wrote:

I for one prefer to keep genus names to a minimum because they 
are an obligatory category. This still leaves the subgenus rank 
available for those who wish to communicate finer distinctions

	I agree wholeheartedly.  The genus/subgenus distinctions are 
best used this way, because the larger "genus" Nymphalis allows 
you to know that these species are a nicely knit grouping of near 
closest relatives, and the subgenus name lets you delineate further 
the species groups within the genus.

Lastly, Norbert said:

Natural groups are a useful concept but
there certainly is no requirement that all natural groups have a
formal name in the name heirarchy. The eternal question in all these
matters is: How big (or small) do we build that corral before we put
the butterflies into it :-) and regardless of the size, do we need to
put a formal name on the corral ??

	What else is there to say?  Names are great to have, and I'm 
all for familial/subfamilial/tribal/generic/subgeneric names to 
indicate perceived levels of relatedness, but you need not put 
names on each species pair, etc.

  No offense, Ron (we've disagreed before and know perfectly well 
it's nothing personal), but I still have to contend that there is no 
such thing as a genus (or any higher taxa) in nature, and Norbert's 
post explains perfectly why.  Yes, there are some species that are 
certainly each other's closest relatives, but distances between 
species are not easy to delineate, and so are open to some 
interpretation . . . and the species themselves don't care!!


Dr. James K. Adams
Dept. of Natural Science and Math
Dalton State College
213 N. College Drive
Dalton, GA  30720
Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533  (Georgia Lepidoptera)
U of Michigan's President James Angell's 
  Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"


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