RE: birding-aus RFI: naming of Rufous Songlark

To: "" <>
Subject: RE: birding-aus RFI: naming of Rufous Songlark
From: Paul van Gasse <>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 01:22:33 +0100


It's very simple, really. The Rufous Songlark was originally described from NSW 
by Vigors and Horsfield in 1827, under the name 'Anthus rufescens'. Now, it is 
one of the rules of zoological nomenclature that no scientific name can be 
given twice for the same or different taxa. In that case, the later published 
of the two becomes a junior homonym, i.e. a preoccupied name, and cannot be 
used anymore.

In this case, Matthews established, in 1912, that the name was preoccupied by 
Anthus rufescens Temminck, 1820, and could not be used for the songlark. In 
such cases, it is the second name proposed for the taxon in question that 
becomes the species name. In 1911, Iredale had described 'Cincloramphus 
rufescens mathewsi' as a W. Australian subspecies, and because 'rufescens' 
became unavailable for the species, 'mathewsi' became the new species name 

As to the genus name, Mathews has proposed Maclennania in 1917, because he 
considered the Rufous Song-Lark generically distinct from the Brown Songlark, 
to which the genus name Cincloramphusn had first been assigned. Thus, the name 
became Maclennania mathewsi. However, current views are that the two do belong 
in the same genus, and so Maclenania has become a junior synonym of 

I hope this answers your question.

Paul Van Gasse
Kruibeke, Belgium

-----Original Message-----
From:   Ian Fraser [SMTP:
Sent:   Sunday, March 14, 1999 11:54 PM
Subject:        birding-aus RFI: naming of Rufous Songlark


I am curious as to the history of the naming of Cincloramphus mathewsi by 
Tom Iredale as recently as 1911. I note that it was previously known as C
rufescens and Maclennania mathewsi. What happened?!


Ian Fraser, Canberra  
Environment Tours; Vertego Environmental Writing Consultancy
GPO Box 3268, Canberra, ACT 2601
ph: 02 62491560 fax: 02 62473227

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