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Names for lichen-forming fungi introduced by Ciferri and Tomaselli are illegitimate and not available for use, except for three cases

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The recent uptake of the name Sclerophytonomyces Cif. & Tomas. sets a precedent for the potential use of 215 alternative generic names established by Ciferri and Tomaselli for lichen-forming fungi. It is generally believed that the intention of these authors was an alternative nomenclature for lichenized mycobionts, assuming that lichen names covered the entire symbiosis and were thus nomenclaturally incorrect. However, being aware of Art. 76 in the Stockholm Code ("... names given to lichens shall be considered as applying to their fungal components"; Art. 13 in subsequent Codes), the original idea of Ciferri and Tomaselli was not to replace these names, but to introduce a dual nomenclature that permitted separate naming of isolated fungal cultures, which appeared very different from the corresponding lichen mycobionts. Since Art. 76 did not allow such a dual nomenclature, the authors presented Proposal 46 to amend the Code, but at the same time published their new names separately. The names are conceptually illegitimate, but according to Art. 52.1, legitimacy is formally tied to the identity of the type specimens as governed by Art. 10.1. No type specimens were cited, yet the names are validly published since types were not required for valid publication of names prior to 1958. This has led to inconsistent interpretations of their use, and at least five generic names threaten more recently introduced generic names (Adelolecia, Allocetraria, Caleniopsis, Parmelina, Poeltinula), with about 100 species, many of which are widely distributed and well-known. About 75 of the 215 generic names were thought to be potentially available for use, because their presumed types are not types of previously published names of lichen genera. However, the species names cited as types of the 203 generic names published in the original paper lacked Latin diagnoses and so have no status under the Code, so the generic names are automatically typified under Art. 10.2 and 10.3 based on their diagnoses, which by use of the phrase "Ut in ..." make direct reference to previously established generic names, and are thus formally illegitimate. Only three generic names are available for use because they are based on species with validly published names that are not the types of names of previously established genera of lichenized fungi: Coenomycogonium (based on Coenogonium interpositum), Dictyonematomyces (based on Dictyonema sericeum), and Mycocoenogonium (based on Coenogonium curvulum). However, these names are younger taxonomic synonyms of Coenogonium and Dictyonema, respectively.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Botany, The Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496, U.S.A.;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 November 2007

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