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Formica fusca IS NOT in North America

formica fusca formica subaenescens name changes

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#1 Offline AntsBC - Posted August 29 2018 - 2:30 PM

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I know its been a while since the "name change"/discovery of the fact that the Formica fusca in North America is actually a different species from the Formica fusca in the rest of the world, but I still see a lot of people thinking that F. fusca is still in North America so I've decided to create this thread. 

 

For those of you who didn't know already, Formica fusca is 100% not in North America. Myrmecologists did DNA testing a while back and they clarified that the Formica fusca in North America is actually a different species from the ones elsewhere. I know I just repeated myself, but I wanted to make myself clear.

 

Now you may be asking, so what is the Formica fusca called in North America that isn't Formica fusca anymore? Formica subaenescens is your answer. Again, they changed the name to Formica subaenescens. I know a few of you are now going to be confused because on some websites (AntWeb for example) it still says that Formica fusca is present in North America. The reason those websites still say Formica fusca is in North America is because they haven't updated their sites yet. I would suggest using antmaps for stuff like that as I would say they are the most reliable at updating stuff. 

 

Anyways I just wanted to get that off my head because i'm a little sick of having to explain to people that Formica fusca isn't in North America on ID threads and such.

 

So one more time, If you have/had what was called Formica fusca in North America it is now called Formica subaenescens. Thank you for reading this decently long post.


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#2 Offline gcsnelling - Posted August 29 2018 - 3:21 PM

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That is like saying Loxosceles reclusa does not occur in California even though every one knows someone that was bitten by one. Point being that you are spitting into the wind with this. It will take sometime for this name change to sink in.


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#3 Offline AntsBC - Posted August 29 2018 - 3:58 PM

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That is like saying Loxosceles reclusa does not occur in California even though every one knows someone that was bitten by one. Point being that you are spitting into the wind with this. It will take sometime for this name change to sink in.

 

I know it will take some time, and that is why I made this thread. There was a lot of confusion around this topic so I wanted to clear it up the best I could. Maybe it won't make a huge impact, but at least i'm trying to let people know. Of course there are still going to be people that are going to call the species Formica fusca after reading this, but there are lots of people that don't even know about this name change so how are they going to decide whether or not to call it Formica subaenescens or Formica fusca? I don't see why you would consider this thread useless.


Edited by AntsBC, August 29 2018 - 4:34 PM.

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#4 Offline AntsMaryland - Posted August 29 2018 - 9:05 PM

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That is like saying Loxosceles reclusa does not occur in California even though every one knows someone that was bitten by one. Point being that you are spitting into the wind with this. It will take sometime for this name change to sink in.

 

I know it will take some time, and that is why I made this thread. There was a lot of confusion around this topic so I wanted to clear it up the best I could. Maybe it won't make a huge impact, but at least i'm trying to let people know. Of course there are still going to be people that are going to call the species Formica fusca after reading this, but there are lots of people that don't even know about this name change so how are they going to decide whether or not to call it Formica subaenescens or Formica fusca? I don't see why you would consider this thread useless.

 

You already helped. I've been confused by the confusion for ages :) Thanks for clarifying that.


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#5 Offline Skwiggledork - Posted August 30 2018 - 8:30 AM

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Point being that you are spitting into the wind with this. It will take sometime for this name change to sink in.

 

People still think Tetramorium caespitum is in the US, but for awhile it was referred to as Tetramorium sp. E for awhile since taxonomists were pretty sure it was a different species over here and now it's Tetramorium immigrans.

Or I might be wrong. I don't know. I'm new.


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#6 Offline CallMeCraven - Posted August 30 2018 - 8:47 AM

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Changes in taxonomy are never quick. I had a botany professor who refused to use the new names for several wheat and needle grasses. As long as there is a record of the name change, using the former scientific name for a species isn't wrong, it just isn't preferred. When I am out in the field, I still find myself using Agropyron all of the time, even the the genus has been virtually looted, and all of its species changed to a new genus such as Elymus. The most current name typically makes it onto my field sheets, but in discussions with other ecologists I work with, we go back and forth all the time fluidly.


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#7 Offline VoidElecent - Posted August 30 2018 - 8:53 AM

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Is there an easy way to keep up with all these changes without being active in the community 24/7?



#8 Offline DaveJay - Posted August 30 2018 - 9:33 AM

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Changes in taxonomy are never quick. I had a botany professor who refused to use the new names for several wheat and needle grasses. As long as there is a record of the name change, using the former scientific name for a species isn't wrong, it just isn't preferred. When I am out in the field, I still find myself using Agropyron all of the time, even the the genus has been virtually looted, and all of its species changed to a new genus such as Elymus. The most current name typically makes it onto my field sheets, but in discussions with other ecologists I work with, we go back and forth all the time fluidly.

I agree.
You only have to research one given species that has had name changes in the past to see that just because a revision is done or a paper written changing a genus or species name or describing a new species it takes a long time before it is generally accepted by the scientific community if ever. It depends who uses the new name and who uses the old name in subsequent published papers and if it becomes widely accepted. Often I've thought I was up with things only to find that a name change or new species was or is largely rejected by the scientific community. There's always some argument over whether a new species name is warranted or not. Even more so with genus but at the species level it has to be decided on and agreed by the whole scientific community as to whether a difference is important enough to declare a new species, or subspecies, or is it just a locality variation? There are no meetings to decide so it could take a 100 years to be indisputable.
I don't know the details of this change, but the first time a new name is used it's considered a proposal by most, it could well be that Formica fusca "North America" becomes the accepted name for now, you just never know.
Here in Australia we are very used to names like Selenotopus "sp.2" or Camponotus sp. "Cairns" or Selenotopus plumipes "Northern Territory".
So yes, stay updated but don't think the findings or changes in every scientific paper are set in stone.

Edited by DaveJay, August 30 2018 - 9:34 AM.

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#9 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted August 30 2018 - 11:10 AM

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Is there an easy way to keep up with all these changes without being active in the community 24/7?

Perhaps there could be a thread that updates taxonomic changes.


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#10 Offline CallMeCraven - Posted August 30 2018 - 11:59 AM

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Perhaps there could be a thread that updates taxonomic changes.

 

 

There really isn't any need for that. Taxonomic changes are proposed frequently via papers, and have to go through peer review, and then be accepted by the governing board of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature, which is not a fast process after initial proposal. Even then, it takes far longer for the scientific community as a whole to accept the new nomenclature. By the time it trickles down to our level it would be widely published and most likely make its way into our lingo organically. While it is interesting that the Formica in the United States is genetically different than that in Europe, it doesn't really add anything to our low level of understanding as ant caretakers to know they are now called something different, and in the end doesn't affect their care.

 

All said, articles about things such as this are interesting to read and do make good fare for the general myrmecology board :D.


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#11 Offline rbarreto - Posted August 30 2018 - 7:25 PM

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I disagree. I feel a thread dedicated to taxonomic changes would be very useful. I can't remember/keep track of all these damn name changes. Having one location I could check quickly would save me aand others time. It can't hurt.

Edited by rbarreto, August 30 2018 - 7:26 PM.

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#12 Offline DaveJay - Posted September 1 2018 - 2:13 AM

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I disagree. I feel a thread dedicated to taxonomic changes would be very useful. I can't remember/keep track of all these damn name changes. Having one location I could check quickly would save me aand others time. It can't hurt.

Perhaps one dedicated to scientific news and scientific papers in general? With as many links as possible.
They're hard to find, especially the ones where you can read the actual published paper for free.
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