Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Wed, 05 Jul 2006 14:21:31 PDT
Is it the case that the scientific names for plants and the ones for 
animals need not pay attention to each other? I thought the rule, at 
least for only plants or only animals, is that once a name is use for a 
genus or species, then it can't be used for another, different, genus 
or species. But does this rule apply between the two kingdoms?

I was trying to remember the species name for Leptochiton. So I Googled 
Lo and behold, up came links to both Leptochiton quitoensis as well as 
to a bunch of mollusc species (Leptochiton alveolus, arcticus, asellus, 
belknapi, cancellatus, ...).

This might be okay if there were only the two kingdoms, but these days 
there are several other kingdoms, depending on whose DNA analyses you 
believe. And now there are three major branches of the tree of life 
(bacteria, archaea, eukaryota) and both animals and plants are on the 
same major branch! Does this mean that someone could name a new genus 
of bacteria, which are neither animal nor plant, Leptochiton as well? 
And in fact, the fungi are now considered to be a completely separate 
kingdom from both plants and animals and according to DNA sequencing 
are actually much more closely related to animals than to plants, which 
I think they used to be included in the kingdom of. So would it be okay 
to name a new genus of muchrooms Leptochiton?

I think there are two separate organizations that control the naming of 
plants and of animals. But is there any organization that controls the 
naming of all the other living organisms? How does this work these 
days? (And how did Leptochiton get to be the name of a genus of plants 
as well as of a genus of animals?)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

[I just checked wikipedia and it has this to say:

<<Codes of nomenclature

 From the mid nineteenth century onwards it became ever more apparent 
that a body of rules was necessary to govern scientific names. In the 
course of time these became Nomenclature Codes governing the naming of 
animals (ICZN), plants (incl. Fungi, cyanobacteria) (ICBN), bacteria 
(ICNB) and viruses. These Codes differ.

For example, the ICBN, the plant Code does not allow tautonyms, whereas 
the ICZN, the animal Code does allow tautonymy.
The starting points, the time from which these Codes are in effect 
(retroactively), vary from group to group. In botany the starting point 
will often be in 1753, in zoology in 1758. Bacteriology started anew, 
with a starting point in 1980[citation needed]).

A BioCode has been suggested to replace several codes, although 
implementation is not in sight.>>

So there is an ICBN, ICZN, and an ICNB. I never even knew there was an 
ICNB. And I see that that the ICBN also controls fungi and 
cyanobacteria. But who decides which of the three get to control names 
of things on the tree of life that don't easily fall into animals, 
plants, fungi, cyanobacteria, and bacteria? And once again I ask: Are 
the three so independent that you can use duplicate names for genera as 
long as the organism belongs to a different code organization?]

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