marlandza's picture

Black-headed Gull, Isle of Dogs - 2012

Observed: 19th January 2012 By: marlandza
Botanical Society of South Africa
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Black-headed gull 2012-01-19 (C)
Description:

Head beginning to change colour.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

marlandza's picture

How do your links work?

I tried Chroicocephalus ridibundus and didn't get the drop-down name so then searched for the Laurus ID
Very confusing for a novice.

marland-uk
My favourite Lichen Site
MARINE, MARITIME AND OCEANIC LICHENS
'What is not shared is lost'
http://www.lichensmaritimes.org/index.php?lang=en

Syrphus's picture

Your ID of Larus is perfectly

Your ID of Larus is perfectly correct. I have made a comment to this effect on another recent BHG post at http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/244873. The correct NHM/NBN dictionary used on iSpot does not know about the new generic name, which can freely be ignored anyway - whether you split genera or not is a matter of personal judgement. I will agree with your ID, and hope that others will do the same.

M.

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

marlandza's picture

Ha ha!!

I've just followed the majority and misnamed my second posting - thanks for the feedback - I love iSpot and have learned a lot in a few days re how much I still need to learn.

marland-uk
My favourite Lichen Site
MARINE, MARITIME AND OCEANIC LICHENS
'What is not shared is lost'
http://www.lichensmaritimes.org/index.php?lang=en

David Jardine's picture

Taxonomy

The important thing is that we agree this is a Black-headed Gull! Both latin names are correct, provided the authority is quoted; it then becomes an issue which authority the current 'British list' prepared by BOURC favours - currently it Chroicocephalus. Inevitably with the advances in DNA such issues will be with us for some time.

DavidHowdon's picture

Authority

Now one of the entomology experts on the group recently corrected me when I suggested that strictly authority needs to be cited when quoting a scientific name.

No idea who is correct.

Syrphus's picture

Very few people in general

Very few people in general wildlife work will need to quote an authority (which is not BOU or any other body, but the author and date of the original relevant formal description). It does become essential for professionals and occasionally in some groups (notably inverts, fungi and lower plants) where the taxonomy is fluid, and (e.g.) the same binomial has been applied to two species by different authors.

As far as the two names Larus ridibundus and Chroicocephalus ridibundus are concerned, there is no doubt at all to which species you refer. In the (not so) olden days, all our well-known UK gulls were in the Genus Larus, except for Kittiwake (Rissa). Some taxonomists decided (probably quite correctly) that Larus should be split into multiple genera. That is actually a matter of opinion, which you can take or leave, and as I said above, both these names are correct and valid under the Code of Zoological Nomenclature which governs these things. Unlike species boundaries, generic boundaries are 100% subjective.

The practical point is that Chroicocephalus ridibundus has not yet been incorporated into the NHM taxon dictionary which is the 'industry standard' for this sort of work, and which generates the recommended names on iSpot (search for the genus on the NBN Gateway and see what comes up). Since the 'recommended names' feature is aimed precisely at people who do not know the Latin names it is unreasonable to override the valid name that the system gives in favour of one that not even the NHM has adopted (and might, if it wished, never adopt). Cyanistes caeruleus (Blue Tit) is in the dictionary, but Parus caeruleus is still a perfectly valid name to use (and those of us too old - or too b*&%$y-minded - for new tricks will do exactly that!).

M.

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.