Proposal (521) to South American Classification Committee



Change the scientific name of the Common Bush-Tanager from Chlorospingus ophthalmicus to C. flavopectus


Ever since Zimmer (1947) lumped Chlorospingus flavopectus (Lafresnaye, 1840) into Chlorospingus ophthalmicus (Du Bus de Gisignies, 1847), it has been overlooked by all subsequent workers, including Storer (in Peters' Check-List, 1970), Sibley & Monroe (1990), Dickinson (2003), and Rising et al. (in HBW, 2011), that the former name has priority by 7 years over the latter. Zimmer did not present publication dates. I couldn't find any source giving an explanation why the junior ophthalmicus should be preferred, contra the Principle of Priority, and consider this to have happened by mistake.


The publication dates have never been disputed, and both original descriptions are online on BHL (see links below).


I therefore propose to change the scientific name of the Common Bush-Tanager from Chlorospingus ophthalmicus to Chlorospingus flavopectus.


Lafresnaye, 1840

Du Bus de Gisignies, 1847

Zimmer, J.T. 1947. Studies of Peruvian birds. No.52 Amer. Mus. Novit. 1367: 1-26. Online pdf.


Rainer Massmann, April 2012




Comments from Stiles: “YES, the priority issue seems clear (however, a recent but as yet unpublished study by Jorge Avendaño has recommended a split of this complex into two species based on morphology, genetics and distribution, so hopefully the change will be only temporary).”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES.  The adoption of the oldest name for this polytypic species repairs an unsuspected mistake.”


Comments from Jaramillo: “YES – this is a puzzling one; usually there is a clear reason why something like this happened. Could it just be a mistake? I guess that is the only probable cause for this unusual usurpation of priority.”


Comments from Cadena: “YES. I have to wonder if something else influenced Zimmer's decision to use the name ophthalmicus, but given the publication dates, the issue appears clear. As Gary mentioned, when my student Jorge Avendaño publishes his work at least two South American species of "ophthalmicus" will likely be recognized so we will have to return to the issue of nomenclature then.”