Aratinga maculata has priority over recently described A. pintoi


Proposal (455) to South American Classification Committee




Effect on South American CL: change scientific name of Aratinga pintoi (Sulphur-breasted Parakeet) to Aratinga maculata.

Background and rationale: see Nemésio and Rasmussen (2009).

Despite confusing nomenclatural history, these authors have shown in great detail that Psittacus maculatus Statius Müller, 1776, based on Buffon’s Buffon’s “Guarouba” or “Perriche jaune” (not “Guarouba” of Marcgrave = presently Golden Parakeet), is the valid nomen of this species.

Also, to establish nomenclatural stability, the holotype of Aratinga pintoi was designated by Nemésio and Rasmussen as a neotype of both Psittacus maculatus and Psittacus luteus (Boddaert, 1783, type species of the genus Aratinga, establishing an objective synonymy among the three nomina.

Recommendation: Because this well-done article is supported by the sources consulted, and especially by the rules and recommendations of ICZN, I vote Yes to the recommendation of Nemésio and Rasmussen to correct the nomenclature of this species.


ICZN (1999) International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth Edition. Padova: The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature.


Nemésio, A. & C. Rasmussen (2009) The rediscovery of Buffon’s “Guarouba” or “Perriche jaune”: two senior synonyms of Aratinga pintoi Silveira, Lima & Höfling, 2005 (Aves: Psittaciformes). Zootaxa 2013:1-16.



José Fernando Pacheco, 03 August 2010





Comments from Stotz: “NO.  The name maculata is an old one that as far as I have been able to determine has essentially been unused since proposed.  Is there any reason to resurrect it for a species that was recently recognized and named other than strict priority?”


Comments from Robbins: “NO.  I agree with Doug -- we are contemplating using a name from 1776 that apparently has never been used.  Changing the name from the widely recognized pintoi to maculatus is not adding stability, only confusion.  I believe there is an article in the ICZN code that when a name hasn’t been used in the past xx years, strict priority does not trump everything else.  I believe this is applicable here. Thus, we should stick with using pintoi.”


Comments from Rainer Massman: “For the past few years I've been working on a database of all nomenclaturally available names in ornithology, and for almost ten years now I've been interested in the correct application of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999, from here on Code).


“The recent proposal no. 455 (Aratinga maculata vs. Aratinga pintoi) and especially the reactions of SACC members posted so far have drawn my attention to this case and seem to make it necessary to comment on some points regarding zoological nomenclature. Before I start I would like to point out that the current proposal deals exclusively with nomenclature, but neither taxonomy nor systematics nor classification. As nomenclature is completely regulated by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999, from here on Code), actual knowledge of the Code's provisions is a basic requirement to come to a final judgment. Referral to provisions, which are „believed“ to exist, will not be sufficient. Also I would expect – and strongly urge - SACC members to carefully read the cited paper by Nemesio & Rasmussen (2009), as it is outstandingly detailed in its justification, why the name change is necessary.


“So for this reason there should be no need to repeat the arguments brought up by Nemesio & Rasmussen here, as they are explained in full length in the paper, but, well … In my own words, the main points are:


• It all comes down to the neotype designation, by which the names Aratinga maculata and Aratinga pintoi became objective synonyms, that is, they are absolutely identical in meaning (Nemesio & Rasmussen, p.11).

• The Code's requirements for a valid neotype designation are numerous, but the authors have shown in great detail (pp.11-12), that they were all satisfied.

• Priority is among the most basic principles of zoological nomenclature, as stated already in the preamble of the Code. There is no free choice between „strict“ priority and a somewhat mitigated application of it, except as provided by the Code.

• The only article in the Code, that allows for a reversal of precedence between two synonyms or homonyms is art.23.9. It requires that (see also Nemesio & Rasmussen, p.9)

a) the senior name has not been used as valid after 1899 and

b) the junior name has been used as valid in at least 25 works, published by at least 10 authors in the immediately preceding 50 years and encompassing a span of not less than 10 years.


• As Aratinga pintoi was only described in 2005, the last requirement is not satisfied, and a reversal of precedence under art.23.9 is not possible.


“In fact, as long as there is a general consensus that the Code is to be accepted as universal guideline in zoological nomenclature, this is not an issue to be voted about by SACC. If SACC members feel discomforted with this name change, they should ask the ICZN to suppress Aratinga maculata and to conserve Aratinga pintoi. SACC is simply not authorized to do this. Therefore rejecting this proposal would simply mean to blatantly ignore the Code!


“In the meantime and as long as the Code is followed, the valid name for the Sulphur-breasted Parakeet is – like it or not - Aratinga maculata (Statius Müller 1776).”


Comments from Robbins: “YES [vote changed after Massman’s comments].”


Comments from Stiles:  YES – given the provisions of the ICZN, which, however disagreeable, are clear enough to admit no doubt that pintoi must go.”


Comments from Nores:  “YES.  Después de leer los argumentos dados por Nemesio y Rasmussen, y reforzados por los comentario de Rainer Massman, pienso que efectivamente maculata tiene prioridad sobre pintoi.”


Comments from Pacheco:  “YES. Aplicação estrita do “Princípio da Prioridade”.”