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Old Saturday 4th October 2008, 09:27   #1
wintibird
André Weiss Pryde
 
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Caspian Gull

I noticed that in the taxonomy template there is an entry for Larus cachinnans - Yellow-legged Gull (and L. armenicus) but not for Larus michahellis (which would be Yellow-legged Gull and cachinnans would be Caspian). How do we cope with that taxonomic and nomenclature problem?

André

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Old Sunday 5th October 2008, 00:10   #2
njlarsen
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I think the problem here is that L cachinnans when originally split from regular Herring gull did include L michahellis, and the combined species was called yellow-legged gull. Then in the following split, michahellis inherited the "yellow-legged" name and cachinnans became Caspian Gull. Now with regards to Opus, all our authorities accept the first split while only Clements accept the second split. So formally, the situation in the taxonomy template is the correct one.

In Opus however, we do have entries for both michahellis and cachinnans. IF we follow our own rules, we probably should merge these; however, I am afraid that some birdforum member would be unable to understand that situation and make a new entry for the one that would be missing. Another possibility is to say that this is a split that is so well founded in strong data that it should be in Opus already now, but I don't know the data well enough to be able to say that, and I don't know if anyone else do; there are some threads in the taxonomy section about gulls to peruse. Third possibility is to break another of our rules and have a page for the second of these which we label as a subspecies page (writing something like Larus c. cachinnans).

So in the end, I am not sure this post solves any problems

Niels

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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 17:27   #3
Alan Manson
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I'm the one responsible for this; I set up the template according to our rules, and have not gone back to put the merge messages in the species pages. My reticence is probably because I have been putting off entering the discussion on how Opus should handle taxonomic updates.

Niels has always correctly held that we should follow what has been accepted in the major lists, but possibly we need to rethink the approach of using Dickinson 2003 (H&M) and S&M 96 to define our world list.

One way of moving on from the present norm (S&M base; changes only made if H&M and Clements agree) would be to use the taxonomic expertise we have in the Bird Taxonomy and Nomenclature forum. Where the Clements (most recent) treatment is different from both S&M and H&M, and an editor feels that the Clements treatment is now widely accepted, s/he could ask in the Taxonomy and Nomenclature forum if that is in fact the case. If there is no disagreement in this forum, I feel that we should follow the Clements approach (being a regularly updated world list). In this way we could keep Opus more current using a process similar to that used to resolve the Troupial split, using Rasmus's expertise.
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Old Tuesday 21st October 2008, 06:27   #4
Alan Manson
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After a little research, I see no point in referring this case to the Bird Taxonomy and Nomenclature forum - there seem to be more opinions than taxa! This is one where I suggest we stick to the S&M and H&M consensus, and go back to merging Larus barabensis and L. michahellis with L. cachinnans on the Yellow-legged Gull page, as L. cachinnans.

I can see Niels's reasoning for retaining separate pages for the subspecies, but I don't think there should be a problem if redirects take editors to a page with a brief explaination under 'Taxonomy'.
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Old Wednesday 22nd October 2008, 08:01   #5
Alan Manson
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Caspian, Yellow-legged and Baraba Gulls now merged under Yellow-legged Gull.
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