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A Synonymic Catalogue of Orthoptera

Nature volume 71, pages 459460 (16 March 1905) | Download Citation



THE value of such a general synonymic catalogue as this work is obvious, but the increased interest which has been taken in Orthoptera in recent years, and the rapidly accumulating mass of literature, has made a complete and systematic catalogue of this order an urgent necessity. The work is upon the same model as the author's previous catalogue of dragon-flies. The species are numbered, though no particular order appears to have been followed; the distribution is given in the margin, and synonymy is attached, although a complete list of references is not given in every case. One of the most prominent features of the list is the conscientious manner in which the author refuses to admit as synonymous such names as to the absolute identity of which he is not personally convinced, resulting in an apparent multiplication of species. Thus, on pp. 30 and 31, we find Spongiphora parallela, S. Iherminieri, S. dysoni, and S. croceipennis all entered as separate species, though nowadays there are few who doubt their identity, and fewer still who can discriminate between them. Again, on p. 2, Diplatys gerstaeckeri and D. longisetosa are regarded as separate, although it is impossible to distinguish them. To such an extent does the author carry this principle, that he admits names published with figures only, such as Pygidicrana huegeli, Sharp, and even Ancistrogaster petropolis, Wood, based upon a reference and an illustration in a popular work. But yet he relegates Psalis indica, Hagenb., var. minor, Borm., as a synonym of P. guttata, Borm., although the describer insisted upon the extreme variability of the older known species. But questions of nomenclature and classification are of necessity controversial; many may disagree with the author's arrangement of the genus Labidura, in which a number of insufficiently described so-called species are regarded as valid, only on account of the difficulty of proving their identity with the excessively variable and universally distributed Labidura riparia, Pallas.

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