birding-aus Schodde & Mason,1999

Subject: birding-aus Schodde & Mason,1999
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 14:00:01 +1100
I have been combing through Schodde & Mason's 1999 A Directory of
Australian Birds.Passerines to get updates into my data base.  It is a very
impressive piece of work.  Top marks to Dick and Ian.  I notice that very
often they use the form of argument: "if you split D from A, then you must
also split B and C, which are as different from A as D is."  I see this as
going against the Biological Species Concept, which I repeat, has
absolutely nothing useful to say about allopatric taxa.
I have a couple of specific observations:
They unite the northern Australian forms of Myiagra alecto from Arnhem land King Sound in the Kimberley region as M.a.melvillensis
from Monarcha alecto melvillensis Mathews,1912,Austral Avian
Record,1,p.142. (Melville island, Northern Territory).
They reject,correctly, Mayr's attempt to group the Aru Islands form with
the Arnhem land form.
But they appear to overlook Myiagra rubecula melvillensis Mathews,1912,
which precedes Monarcha alecto melvillensis.  Thus I believe that
melvillensis Mathews,1912 is preoccupied, and that the correct name for the
NT and nWA form would be Myiagra alecto tormenti
from Monarcha alicto [sic] tormenti Mathews,1912,Austral Avian
record,1,p.91. (Point Torment, northwestern Australia)

I am also a bit puzzled about the form Sphecotheres vieilloti cucullatus,
which Coates & Bishop,Guide to the Birds of Wallacea,p.414 list for
sMoluccas (though, unusually, they don't list any specific islands.
This derives from Picnoramphus cucullata Rosenberg,1866.  Schodde and Mason
don't mention this at all, although they do refer to other extralimital
forms in the Kai Is and New Guinea.  Also odd is that Mathews,1930,Systema
Avium Australasianarum,2,doesn't mention cucullata Rosenberg under any
subspecies except in relation to it being the type of Picnoramphus
Rosenberg, a junior synonym of Sphecotheres.
Can anyone shed any light on cucullatus?
John Penhallurick
Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
Canberra, Australia
Phone BH( 61 2) 6201 2346   AH (61 2) 62585428
FAX (61 2) 6258 0426
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"The market where possible,the state where necessary"(Margaret Thatcher)
"Sunt lacrimae rerum." Virgil, Aeneid,i,462.
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