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Dendroplex is no more (1 Viewer)

Jim LeNomenclatoriste

Taxonomy and zoological nomenclature
Synonymization of the genus nomen Dendroplex Swainson, 1827 and description of a new genus of woodcreeper (Aves: Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae) with remarks on Articles 67.5 and 70.3 of the Code



The polytypic Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) is one of the most complex species-groups of Dendrocolaptidae (Aves: Passeriformes), from both the nomenclatural and morphological standpoints. Firstly, its alpha taxonomy is debatable. Virtually all recent works (e.g. Aleixo 2002; Marantz et al. 2003; del Hoyo & Collar 2016) have recognized just two species in the group—Dendroplex picus and Zimmer’s Woodcreeper Dendroplex kienerii (Des Murs, 1856)—although some of the other described taxa possess singular morphological characters and well-defined ranges somewhat isolated from their geographically closest relatives (e.g. Plain-throated Woodcreeper Dendroplex picirostris Lafresnaye, 1847). Secondly, the correct genus to which to allocate taxa presently included in this group (vide Aleixo 2002) has been controversial. There is a considerable confusion as to which nominal species should be regarded as the type of Dendroplex Swainson, 1827b. Three species are involved in the dispute (Cory & Hellmayr 1925; Peters 1951; Aleixo et al. 2002; Marantz et al. 2003; Aleixo et al. 2007): Oriolus picus J. F. Gmelin, 1788; Dendrocolaptes guttatus M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1818; and Dendrocolaptes ocellatus Spix, 1824. Here, we re-examine the nomenclatural issue and show that application of the nomen Dendroplex to the clade comprising the species-group D. picus (Aleixo et al. 2007) is based on a misunderstanding of the application of Article 70.3 of the Code (Anon. 1999) and that Dendrocolaptes ocellatus Spix, 1824, is its real type species. Consequently, the genus Dendroplex Swainson, 1827b, must be considered a junior synonym of Xiphorhynchus Swainson, 1827a. Because no generic nomen is currently available for them, we propose a new genus nomen to encompass the species originally described as Oriolus picus J. F. Gmelin, 1788, Dendroplex picirostris Lafresnaye, 1847, and Dendrornis kienerii Des Murs, 1856.


Aves, Dendrocolaptidae, Nomenclature, New genus, Dendroplex


I guess it's Paludicolaptes nom. nov. (this name is mentioned in the reference of the present paper)
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laurent raty
Interestingly messy case...

Dendroplex Swainson 1827:
Swainson W. 1827. On several groups and forms in ornithology, not hitherto defined. Zool. J., 3: 343-363. p. 354: https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/27485880
Here, Swainson described the genus but did not include any species, stating that he was unsure that the type had been named.

The work conventionally accepted as having first subsequently included a nominal species (*) is:
Swainson W. 1837. On the natural history and classification of birds. Vol. 2. Cabinet Encyclopaedia. Longman, London. p. 313-314: https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/53428578
In this work, Swainson :
  • Illustrated the bill of Dendroplex (on p. 313).
  • Included a nominal species (on p. 314), which he cited as D. guttatus
  • Added a reference to this, reading "Spix, i, 91, f. 1".
Swainson's illustration appears to show the bill of a Straight-billed Woodcreeper, currently Dendroplex picus.
The cited name was authored by Lichtenstein:
Lichtenstein MH. 1820. Die Gattung Dendrocolaptes. Abh. K. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, Jahren 1818-1819: 197-210. p. 201: https://books.google.com/books?id=J-8aAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA201
...and is currently in use as Xiphorhynchus guttatus for the Buff-throated Woodcreeper.
The reference was to:
Spix JB von. 1824. Avium species novae quas in itinere per brasiliam annis MDCCCXVII – MDCCCXX jussu et auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I. Bavariae Regis suscepto collegit et descripsit Dr. J. B. de Spix. [Tomus I.] FS Hürschmann, München. Plate XCI, #1: https://digital.bbm.usp.br/view/?45000009044&bbm/7004#page/246/mode/2up
...and shows a bird that is now known as Xiphorhynchus ocellatus (Spix 1824), the Ocellated Woodcreeper. (The bird is called D. guttatus on the plate, but Spix presumably realised it was not Lichtenstein's bird at some later point, as he changed this to "Dendrocolaptes ocellatus (guttatus)" in the text -- which forms the source of the current valid name of the species.)
If this indeed represents the first inclusion of a nominal species in the genus, the type species under the standard provisions of the Code was fixed there as Dendrocolaptes guttatus Lichtenstein by subsequent monotypy. But misidentifications had occurred twice in the process: once in Spix's work (species "really" involved: D. ocellatus), and a second time directly in Swainson's work (species "really" involved: D. picus); as I understand 70.3, the type might thus arguably, at first sight, be correctable to either/both...

*) I would be most interested in an explanation as to why none of the various editions of Cuvier's Règne animal, published before 1837, might qualify as having included a species in Dendroplex.
The first one can probably be dismissed on the account that it is not fully affirmative. The second, perhaps (?), by treating Swainson's text as separate and claiming that he only cited Buffon's vernacular (not a nominal species, not eligible to be a type). But I can find no good reason not to accept the German edition of 1831 as having included picus.

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