Examples of homonyms
Arguably the worst problem with homonyms are those cases when the same author describes two species with the same name. In these cases we cannot use the authority information to distinguish which homonym is which. If the year is included in authority information, then the two names may be distinguished. Unless, of course, the author introduced the two names in the same year. In which case we can refer to the journal, book and page number. Which works until we hit those cases where the author introduced the same name in the same year and in the same document, and even on the same page. The members of the Taxacom ListServe had fun reporting on some of the worst cases.
Ian Kitching advised of Clark who described two sphingid moths with the same name in the same year:
- Leucophlebia lineata formosana Clark, 1936, Proc. New Engl. zool. Club 15: 76
- Leucophlebia lineata formosana Clark, 1936, Proc. New Engl. zool. Club 15: 86
Francisco Welter-Schultes pointed out that the following names were established in the same papers:
- Amydona Walker 1855 (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) (p. 1110)
- Amydona Walker 1855 (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) (p. 1413)
- Betousa Walker 1865 (Lepidoptera: Thyridae) (p. 1111)
- Betousa Walker1865 (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (p. 1208)
- Cicada variegata Fabricius 1775 (p. 684) (Auchenorrhyncha)
- Cicada variegata Fabricius1775 (p. 686) (Auchenorrhyncha)
- Noctua marginata Fabricius 1775 (p. 597) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
- Noctua marginata Fabricius 1775 (p. 610) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
- Clausilia oertzeni Boettger 1889 (p. 42) (Gastropoda: Clausiliidae)
- Clausilia schuchi var. oertzeni Boettger 1889 (p. 52) (Gastropoda: Clausiliidae)
Then he raised the stakes by pointing out that some homonyms were created by the same author not only in the same publication but on the same page
- Zonites verticillus var. graeca Kobelt, 1876 (p. 48) (Gastropoda)
- Zonites albanicus var. graeca Kobelt, 1876 (p. 48) (Gastropoda)
Although in this case you need to understand some of the more esoteric vagaries of the code of zoological nomenclature, such as the "principle of co-ordination", which when coupled with handling of subspecific names before 1960 means that Kobelt in principle twice introduced the name Zonites graeca.
But then David Notton provided the less tortured example of Ashmead who in 1895 described two different wasps as Phaenopria angulifera - 15 lines apart.
- Phaenopria angulifera Ashmead, 1895, page 810, line 29
- Phaenopria angulifera Ashmead, 1895, page 810, line 44
Ashmead, W.H. (1895). Report on the parasitic Hymenoptera of the island of Grenada, comprising the families Cynipidae, Ichneumonidae, Braconidae and Proctotrypidae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 19:742-812.
Ashmead is not alone. Indeed species level homonyms within speciose genera can be expected to be common than homonyms between codes. So we have a further example of Macquart, who in 1834 described on the same page (187) Laphria limbata from French Guyana AND Laphria limbata from France.