Proposal (606) to South American Classification Committee


English name of Upucerthia validirostris



With the passage of proposal 572 to treat Upucerthia jelskii and U. validirostris as conspecific, we have a problem with which English name to use.  I used Buff-breasted Earthcreeper as a placeholder because it had been used by Cory & Hellmayr (1927) for U. validirostris when it included the jelskii subspecies group.  However, typical practice is to use a separate name from either of the daughter species for a broadly defined species after lumps or splits.  The problem was created by Meyer de Schauensee, who treated the jelskii group as a separate species but retained Cory & Hellmayr’s “Buff-breasted” for narrowly defined U. validirostris.


A YES vote on this proposal is for approval of use of Buff-breasted for broadly defined U. validirostris.  A NO vote would be to find another name (to be determined) for broadly defined U. validirostris (and the NO voters become the authors of a follow-up proposal for a novel name).


Reasons for a YES vote are (1) this is just a return to the name used by Cory & Hellmayr, and (2) it avoids inventing a novel name for the broadly defined species.  The reason for a NO vote is to avoid perpetual confusion concerning what “Buff-breasted” refers to, even if it means inventing a new name.


I lean slightly towards a YES.  Not that Cory & Hellmayr is a widely used source of English names, but they did indeed establish Buff-breasted for the broadly defined species.  If this were a novel lump, then I would strongly favor a coining a new name, but this is not the case.


Van Remsen. November 2013




Comments from Zimmer: “YES, to return to the English name of Buff-breasted Earthcreeper for the more broadly defined validirostris (with jelskii) group.  As Van points out, this is not a novel lump, and we would just be returning to a name used previously for this species, even though there is some potential for confusion as to whether the name applies to pre-lumped species-limits or post-lumped species-limits.”


Comments from Stiles: ““YES, to maintain the original name for the broadly defined species, for reasons expressed by Van; given that the splitting of these two was relatively recent, I suspect that the new English names therein have seen little use, so the potential confusion mentioned by Kevin would be minimal.: