The spelling of Haminoea

November 23, 1998
From: Richard Willan

Dear Colleague,

After a delay of some 12 years, the Secretariat of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is hastily resurrecting Case 2588, that deals with the three different spellings (Haminoea Turton in Turton & Kingston, 1830, Haminaea Leach, 1847, Haminea Gray, 1847) for the same genus-group name. According to an e-mail message I received from Dr Philip Tubbs this morning (copied below), the case is to be sent for a vote on 1st December without publication of comments relating to the second (1990) version, which seems very curious to me. I wonder why the haste now?

Anyway, might I please prevail upon you to prepare a short message for Dr Tubbs stating the case for retention of the name Haminoea (see Dr Tubbs' point A in his message below)? This message could contain any/all of the following points in favour of Haminoea:

* This is the spelling we are all familiar with and using;
* it is the earliest validly published name;
* historically, it is the most widely used spelling;
* it is the only spelling ever used by New Zealand, Australian, Asian and North American authors;
* this is the spelling recommended in the original version of case 2588 AND already accepted by the majority of ICZN Commissioners;
* and there is the additional very good point, noted by Dr Philippe Bouchet, one of the Commissioners, that four related genus-group names end in the termination -haminoea (e.g. Lamprohaminoea).

Besides the lack of explanation for the present haste, I am worried by Dr Tubbs' implication that there is a tendency to favour the spelling Haminaea in the recent literature. I do not think that is so - below I list six recent, significant, major works that use the spelling Haminoea. But their coverage is too global for their usage of Haminoea to have entered the Zoological Record, so I do not think counting usages of any particular spelling in the Zoological Record is an appropriate yardstick to guage present usage.

Please spare just ten minutes to send a message to Dr Tubbs in favour of Haminoea - or at least to ask him to publish objections and reopen the case. Probably you can also let him know of additional usages of Haminoea in recent works that I can't think of in the haste of the moment.

Dr Tubbs' e-mail address is

Thanks very much,


Dr Richard C. Willan
Curator of Molluscs
Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory GPO Box 4646
Northern Territory

phone: (08) 8999 8238
fax: (08) 8999 8289


Beesley, P.L., Ross, G.J.B & A.E. Wells (Editors) 1998. Mollusca: the Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Volume 5. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne. part A xvi + 563 pp. part B viii + 565-1234 pp.

Brook, F.J. 1998. The coastal molluscan fauna of the northern Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 28(2): 185-233.

Gosliner, T.M. 1994. Chapter 5 Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia. pages 253-355 in: Harrison, F.W. & S.L. Gardiner (Editors) Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates. Wiley-Liss Inc., New York.

Marshall, J.G. & R.C. Willan In press. Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef: A Survey of the Opisthobranchia (sea slugs) of Heron and Wistari Reefs. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.

Mikklesen, P. M. 1996. The evolutionary relationships of Cephalaspidea s.l. (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia): a phylogenetic analysis. Malacologia 37(2): 375-442.

Spencer, H.G. & R.C. Willan 1996. The Marine Fauna of New Zealand: Index to the Fauna 3: Mollusca. New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Memoir 105: 126 pp.

Copy of Dr Tubbs' message to me of 19th November:

Dear Dr Willan,

We are very anxious to bring to a close the case (no. 2588) on the spellings Haminoea, Haminaea and Haminea. This was first submitted nearly 12 years ago by Dr Gianuzzi-Savelli, and two versions have been published (in 1987 and 1990). We should like if possible (but it may not be so) to send this case for a [second] vote by the Commission on 1 December, so that an Opinion can be published next March; the Commission can be sent explanatory notes along the general lines suggested below.

It is a long time since you corresponded on this case. It would be much appreciated if you would make any observations on the text below, and in particular indicate whether you have changed your previously expressed views. Note in particular that, following the publication of the second application and our regrettable collective failure to publish the opposing comments by Bouchet, Mikkelsen and Willan, there has been a recent tendency to use Haminaea.

It would be most helpful if you could reply (by e-mail if possible) by 25 November; I apologize for the rush after so very long a delay!

Philip Tubbs


Two versions of Case 2588 have been published, in 1987 (BZN 44: 166-167) and 1990 (BZN 47: 263-269); the latter gave a detailed historical account of the spellings Haminoea, Haminaea and Haminea. All of these spellings have had use. The original application, to adopt Haminoea, was sent for voting in March 1989; although it was accepted by the necessary majority of the Commission (there were two dissenting votes) some comments and questions led to further bibliographic investigation and no Opinion was issued.

Following the second application, proposing the adoption of Haminaea (to be attributed to Leach [1820]), comments were received from R. Burn (Australia), P. Bouchet (France), P.M. Mikkelsen (U.S.A.) and R.C. Willan (Australia). The last three supported the original proposition that the spelling Haminoea should be accepted as correct, while Burn was happy to accept Haminaea Leach [1820]. Drs Mikkelsen and Willan stated that Haminoea was the spelling in majority usage. Bouchet was opposed to any ruling on the status of Leach's ms. works in the absence of studies on other names which appeared in them; he also noted that four related genus-group names end in the termination -haminoea. Most unfortunately these comments were not published (see below).

From the historical survey published in BZN 47: 263-269 it is clear that the spelling Haminaea is the progenitor of the other two. Haminaea is to be found in proofs by Leach which were printed in about 1818-1820; although, due to Leach's death, these works remained formally unpublished for many years (until 1847 and 1852 - see BZN 47: 265, para. 6) their contents became widely known to conchologists. The spelling Haminoea was published in 1830 [without attribution to an author] in a work by Turton & Kingston; the section containing the name was probably written by Turton alone (see BZN 47: 265, para. 5) and the name has long been attributed to his authorship. Haminea was published by Gray in late 1847 (BZN 47: 265, para. 7).

It is abundantly clear (1) that there exists no solution to this case which fully meets all the historical, typographical, usage and procedural aspects, and (2) that the Commission is under an obligation to issue a definite ruling on the spelling to be adopted as correct. The solution has to be artificial to some extent, but must attempt to be in accord, so far as possible, with the general usage of names and with the provisions of the Code.

Apart from its simple form there is little to be said for the spelling Haminea., although it formed the basis of the family-group name Hamineinae Pilsbry, 1895 [this presents no difficulty at all]. As reported in detail in the second application, Leach's ms. name Haminaea was evidently the origin of Haminoea. The latter name was that first published in the sense of the Code. Mikkelsen (in litt., following the second application) reported 94 usages of Haminoea (between 1830-1990), 71 for Haminea and 13 for Haminaea, while Willan (also in litt.) said "Haminoea has been the overwhelming (almost exclusive) choice of North and South American, Japanese, Australian and New Zealand malacologists throughout this century ... and is used in two significant recent works, each of which represents a watershed of knowledge for the Mediterranean region."

It is very regrettable that the above comments, and those by Bouchet already mentioned, have never been published. This is the more so because the spelling Haminaea has been reintroduced since the second application: according to Zoological Record there was only 1 use of this spelling between 1978 and 1992 (compared with 15 for Haminoea and 12 for Haminea), while in 1993-1997 there were 16 for Haminaea (by 7 groups of authors), 3 for Haminoea (by 3 groups) and none for Haminea.

The extensive facts published on this case, together with the above considerations, mean that there are two possible solutions:-

A. The Commission should rule that the spelling to be adopted as valid is Haminoea (as proposed in the original application). This is based on the facts (a) that it was the first name to be validly published (by Turton in 1830; see BZN 47:264-265, paras. 4 and 5), and (b) that over a very long period it has been the spelling most used.

B. It should be recognized that, following the second application and the failure to publish the opposing comments, and in the absence of an Opinion, usage of the name Haminaea has been reintroduced. If this name is adopted it could be attributed either to Leach [1820], as in the second application, or it could be ruled that Haminoea of Turton (1830) is an "incorrect original spelling" of Haminaea.

I apologize again for the failure to publish the comments received in 1991. Your views, especially on A and B, will be most welcome.

Philip Tubbs

It would plainly be most unsatisfactory if this case were to be delayed yet further, or, even worse, if the Commission were to confess itself unable to resolve what is an essentially simple matter of spelling; either situation would prolong the present confusion and multiple nomenclature.

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature c/o The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

Willan, R., 1998 (Nov 23) The spelling of Haminoea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

I can only support Richard's comments and ask anyone with an interest to communicate their views to the International Commission urgently. .. Bill Rudman.

Dr Tubbs' e-mail address is



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