Re: [beemonitoring] Naming conventions for databases - Representation of unknown species
The attached paper might be of interest for those trying to understand the usages of: aff., cf. and ?.
To summarize the paper briefly,
aff. - means 'similar to', so can be used for unidentified members of species groups, or species which are recognisable as new, but with a closely related species that is described.
cf. - means 'compare to', it is useful for provisional determinations. It may or may not belong to the species name given. The attached paper comments on the distinction of 'compare to' vs. 'compare with'. The latter would be more similar to the meaning of 'aff.'
? is much the same as cf., it is useful for uncertain determinations
sp. is useful for cases where an identification can't be made or hasn't been attempted.
Jason Gibbs, PhD
- It's not that a database may not tolerate punctuation, but sometimes in extracting and manipulating data, punctuation can be a pain.If the sp is known to genus, then it has been "examined" and if you leave the sp field blank, you won't know in the future if it was an oversight, as in a species determination was made but not entered, or whether it's definitely a specimen that needs more work. Yes, it's a little redundant, but better entering "sp", or seeing the blank and realizing that you forgot to enter the sp epithet, than later having to find the specimen and put it under the scope only to find out that it was something easily identifiable.The cf sagax example is still ambiguous as to whether it's an undescribed sp or one that's probably/questionably sagax. If you're sure that it's a n sp, then it should be ...n sp nr[or cf] sagax.
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:20:59 -0700
Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Naming conventions for databases - Representation of unknown species
Our FileMaker database has the species field separate from the genus field, and can tolerate most punctuation. In situations 1 and 2, we'd simply leave the species field blank - the assumption being that it could be a known species, but has not been examined. Situation 3, as you've phrased it, is two very different things - in one case, the ID is reasonably certain but needs to be confirmed (Lasioglossum ?sagax), and in the other, we know for certain that it is NOT sagax, and is undescribed (Lasioglossum cf. sagax). The latter is functionally the same as "Lasioglossum n. sp." except that "cf. sagax" gives some idea of what it is similar to, which can be useful when one has a lot of undescribed taxa in the same genus and needs to keep them straight. If we didn't know what it was, but thought it could possibly be described, that's when we'd use something like "sp. A", your situation 5. Situation 4 has come up only for Agapostemon "angelicus or texanus". We commonly have another situation in our collection, which is unpublished Timberlake names, which we database as if they were valid except that it reads as (e.g.) "pomonensis Timberlake MS". There's lots of Perdita, Dialictus, and Sphecodes in that category.
-- Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's) http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82