12 July 2004

Freakin’ taxonomists

I just got confirmation of when I’m supposed to give my poster at this year’s Neuroscience poster. I’m pleased that this year, I’m giving my poster on Saturday! First day of the conference before people are burned out! Yay!

But I’m red-faced now. I just realized there’s a mistake in my title: I have the species name wrong. I put the name of my lobster as Palinurus argus, when it is, in fact, Panulirus argus.

Now, in my defense, I am not the first person to make this mistake, nor will I be the last. You see, both names are scientifically vaid and describe genera of spiny lobsters. Apparently, back in 1847, a taxonomist named White decided to split the spiny lobster genus Palinurus into three genera. For his new genera, he chose anagrams of the original name: Linuparus, which is fairly distinct from Palinurus, and Panulirus – which darn well isn’t. And thus is was that Dr. White ensured my confusion, not to mention the puzzlement of many others, for years to come.

I would submit a revised abstract to correct the title and add an author (my student Alana contributed work to this project after I submitted the abstract), but the deadline for that was back in May. Fortunately, this is just an abstract, but it is pretty embarrassing to have to put in “sic” next to the poster title in my curriculum vita.

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