Proposal (715) to South American Classification Committee
Recognize Sporophila digiacomoi
Background: A presumed new species of seedeater has been discovered in northeastern Argentina. Similar to Sporophila ruficollis but with plumage differences and a distinctive voice, the new species is described as Sporophila digiacomoi in an article by López-Lanús that is being distributed electronically as a pdf (Available from: http://www.xeno-canto.org/docs/lopez-lanus-2015.pdf). The article is an “Adenda” to a forthcoming field guide of the birds of Argentina. Sporophila digiacomoi is already included in the Xeno-canto database (http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Sporophila-digiacomoi), but we don’t know of other lists or databases that have adopted this name so far.
More recently, Di Giacomo and Kopuchian (2016) described the new species as Sporophila iberaensis. That S. digiacomoi is the same species as S. iberaensis is clear from the description and ultimately from the fact that they share the same holotype specimen (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales 72854). Therefore, S. digiacomoi and S. iberaensis are objective synonyms. This rather peculiar situation is the result of a disagreement among former collaborators. An earlier manuscript co-authored by Di Giacomo, López-Lanús, and Kopuchian was submitted for publication in a prestigious ornithological journal and went through peer review. While Di Giacomo and Kopuchian gathered more information to address reviewers’ comments, López-Lanús decided to publish the new species by himself, as part of his forthcoming book. Di Giacomo and Kopuchian reacted by publishing a brief article to keep authorship of the name and declared that a full manuscript with all the details will be published soon after.
The present proposal discusses only the validity of S. digiacomoi. The validity of S. iberaensis will be treated in a separate proposal, for which we might wait until the extended paper by Di Giacomo and Kopuchian is published.
The addendum where S. digiacomoi is described has not been published yet. Although the year 2015 is shown in the document, the book is not yet out of the press and becomes a case of an incorrectly reported date (ICZN Art. 21.4). The pdf that is being distributed is a preprint distributed electronically in advance of publication, and therefore does not constitute a publication for nomenclatural purposes (Art. 9.9). Therefore, S. digiacomoi is not yet available for naming the new species.
On the other hand, the description by Di Giacomo and Kopuchian (2016) is pretty standard and complies with the requirements of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), including new provisions for publication in electronic format, which require registration in the newly created ZooBank database (www.zoobank.org). Therefore, regardless of taxonomic considerations, once the book by López-Lanús is published, the name S. digiacomoi will become a junior objective synonym of S. iberaensis.
Recommendation: Given the considerations above, we recommend a NO vote for this proposal.
Di Giacomo, A. S, & C. Kopuchian 2016. Una nueva especie de capuchino (Sporophila: Thraupidae) de los Esteros del Iberá, Corrientes, Argentina. Nuestras Aves 61: 3-5.
Santiago Claramunt and Nacho Areta, March 2016
Additional notes from Claramunt:
Basically, there are new provisions in Article 8 of The Code that allow for online-only publication.
"8.5. Works issued and distributed electronically. To be considered published, a work issued and distributed electronically must
8.5.1. have been issued after 2011,
8.5.2. state the date of publication in the work itself, and
8.5.3. be registered in the Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (ZooBank) (see Article 78.2.4) and contain evidence in the work itself that such registration has occurred.”
The Lopez-Lanús description has not been registered in ZooBank. But in addition:
"Article 9. What does not constitute published work. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 8, none of the following constitutes published work within the meaning of The Code:
9.9. preliminary versions of works accessible electronically in advance of publication”
The Lopez-Lanús Adenda is clearly a preprint, a pdf distributed electronically in advance of the actual publication of the book in which it will be included.
The on-line articles of Nuestras Aves, on the other hand, are the final versions of the articles that are being published online for the permanent record. They are not preprints nor online-first preliminary versions.
Comments from Remsen: “NO. As the proposal makes clear, the name digiacomoi is not yet available under the Code, and when if/when it is properly published, it would clearly be a synonym of iberaensis.”
Comments from Pacheco: “NO. It appears to me that the description of S. digiacomoi in Nuestras Aves/Xeno Canto is only published online, and without the code ZooBank. This conflicts with the fact that S. iberaensis is considered (by the same database) available on 22 March 2016. It is not clear that the name S. digiacomoi meets - before March 22 - the three criteria of Article 8.1 of the ICZN to be available / or have priority.”
Comments from Stiles: “NO. An unfortunate and rather distasteful situation. But as I understand it, the only validly published name at this point is iberaensis, in which case when the name digiacomoi is validly published, it will become a synonym of iberaensis.”