Saturday, March 05, 2011

Makham, Hawkeswood and Calodema: What a strange set-up

The journal Calodema has become the red herring in taxonomic publishing because of the very low standards of its publications. The editor of Calodema, Hawkeswood seems to be a very competitive fellow as is seen in this exchange from one of his papers, commenting on two letters that Chadwick mailed him:
I do not need to say much more and I will now continue with publishing papers overseas in entomological journals, without worrying any further about C.E. Chadwick and his cronies. Into the dustbin of history he and his research go!
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The current debate in the Taxacom listserver refers to a very recent description of a new spider family, the Hawkeswoodidae Makhan & Ezzatpanah published in A new spider family, Hawkeswoodidae fam. nov. and Amrishoonops amrishi gen. et sp. nov. (Araneae) from Suriname; however, when opening the link, a different paper appears "Aschnaoonops aschnae gen. et sp. nov. from Suriname (Araneae: Oonopidae)".
But then, as Thorpe points out
Hawkeswoodidae was proposed with Amrishoonops as type genus! As it is not formed from the stem of an available generic name, it is not available [sensu ICZN 11.7.1.1. be a noun in the nominative plural formed from the stem of an available generic name] ...

When you actually read through the description, it is extremely short and makes no mention of why this species and genus is different from any existing one.
Description (male): Total length 1.8 mm. Palp with a C-shaped projection. Underside of projection strongly sclerotised, upper side soft, open and seed-like inside. Palp with large brown setae on dorsal side. Carapace brown, with brown setae, widest at posterior side. Abdomen on dorsal side light brown with brown setae, ventral side brown, with brown setae. Spinnerets light brown, with white setae. Legs light brown, with white hairs and with large thick spines.

and here the generic description

Type species: Aschnaoonops aschnae Makhan & Ezzatpanah sp. nov.
Description: Small brown species. Carapace round. Palp with a C-shaped projection. Underside of the projection strongly sclerotised and upper side soft, open and seed-like inside. Legs with large thick spines and hairs.


May be such as simple description is like Einstein's E=mc2, we just don't get it - that at least seems to be the message at the main page of Calodema
"All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third, it is accepted as self-evident!"
- Arthur Schopenhauer

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
- Albert Einstein


P.S. Looking at some additional publications, it seems that Calodema is in fact the journal for highly combative authors, like Ghahari in his checklist of Iranian Braconid wasps
The results of this research indicate that the braconid fauna of north-western Iran is diverse and comprises some very interesting species. The mentioned region is very vast and includes diverse flora and fauna, and also has boundaries with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Therefore, this small research paper, which is restricted to some areas, is not an extensive work, and the conducting of other surveys is necessary for determining many other species in this region. Since Iran is a large country with various geographical regions and climates, faunistic surveys in different regions of Iran is necessary for determining the extent of Iranian Braconidae step by step. A checklist of Iranian Braconidae was published by allahzadeh & Saghaei (2009) without perfect attention to all the resources available on Iranian Braconidae, e.g. Ghahari et al. (2009a, b, c, d) and many others. A checklist is a type of informational aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention.
Therefore, it is expected that a checklist would contain all the data on the subject and a checklist with deficiencies is not usable and helpful for researchers. This is main reason that all the systematic checklists must be prepared by the authorized specialists or at least edited and/or refereed by them carefully.

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