Confusion about scientific name

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Quail27, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Quail27

    Quail27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Is the coturnix quail (the one common for use in meat and eggs) Coturnix coturnix (common quail) or Coturnix japonica (Japanese quail)? They look identical in google images, but appear to be different species within the same genus. I have seen it listed as Coturnix coturnix japonica, but that seems to be a meshing of two different names, so I assume other people are as confused as I am [​IMG]
     
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    Maybe.... Coturnix Yummyus? [​IMG] Sorry, couldn't resist! I'm sure someone knows on here.
     
  3. darkfur

    darkfur Chillin' With My Peeps

    A site that gives scientifically correct information for the taxonomy of birds is http://www.zoonomen.net/avtax/frame.htmlThe entry for the coturnix genera looks like this (only it has lost its formatting here)

    Coturnix (f.) Garsault 1764 LesFig.Plant.Anim.UsageMedecine 5 pl.686 Citation Type
    Coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus) 1758 Syst.Nat.ed.10 p.161
    Coturnix coturnix africana Temminck & Schlegel 1849 FaunaJap.Aves[Siebold] p.103
    Coturnix coturnix conturbans Hartert 1917 Novit.Zool. 24 p.423
    Coturnix coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus) 1758 Syst.Nat.ed.10 p.161
    Coturnix coturnix erlangeri Zedlitz 1912 J.Orn. 60 p.344
    Coturnix coturnix inopinata Hartert 1917 Novit.Zool. 24 p.422
    Coturnix japonica Temminck & Schlegel 1849 FaunaJap.Aves[Siebold] p.103 pl.61
    Coturnix coromandelica (Gmelin) 1789 Syst.Nat. 1 pt2 p.764
    Coturnix delegorguei Delegorgue 1847 Voy.Afr.Austr. 2 p.615
    Coturnix delegorguei arabica Bannerman 1929 BBOC 49 p.109
    Coturnix delegorguei delegorguei Delegorgue 1847 Voy.Afr.Austr. 2 p.615
    Coturnix delegorguei histrionica Hartlaub 1849 Rev.Mag.Zool.(2) 1 p.495
    Coturnix pectoralis Gould 1837 Syn.BirdsAustr. pt2 pl.29
    Coturnix novaezelandiaeĀ† Quoy & Gaimard 1830 Voy.AstrolabeZool. 1 p.242 AtlasOis. p.24 fig.1
    Coturnix ypsilophora Bosc 1792 J.Hist.Nat.Paris 2 p.297 pl.39
    Coturnix ypsilophora australis (Latham) 1802 Suppl.ind.orn. p.lxii Citation
    Coturnix ypsilophora dogwa (Mayr & Rand) 1935 Am.Mus.Novit. no.814 p.3 Citation
    Coturnix ypsilophora mafulu (Mayr & Rand) 1935 Am.Mus.Novit. no.814 p.1 Citation
    Coturnix ypsilophora monticola (Mayr & Rand) 1935 Am.Mus.Novit. no.814 p.2 Citation
    Coturnix ypsilophora pallidior (Hartert) 1897 Novit.Zool. 4 p.271
    Coturnix ypsilophora plumbea (Salvadori) 1894 Ann.Mus.Civ.Stor.Nat.Genova 34 p.152
    Coturnix ypsilophora raaltenii (Muller,S) 1842 Verh.Nat.Gesch.[Temminck] Land-Volk. no.5 p.158
    Coturnix ypsilophora saturatior (Hartert) 1930 Novit.Zool. 36 p.125
    Coturnix ypsilophora ypsilophora Bosc 1792 J.Hist.Nat.Paris 2 p.297 pl.39

    Basically what it is saying is that C japonica was described as a species in 1849, is a different species from all the other Coturnix in the list, and that Coturnix japonica is the currently accepted scientific name.

    The problem is that taxonomy (the science of naming organisms) is a very contentious field. Some people say that taxonomists come in two kinds, "lumpers" and "splitters". "Lumpers" have a tendency to make fewer groups of organisms encompassing more variation, so if a lumper was to classify the Coturnix genera they would be the ones to come up with C coturnix japonica rather than C japonica as a species in its own right. "Splitters" tend to make as many different groups as possible.

    Species are often defined by their ability to produce fertile offspring. For example, horses and mules are NOT the same species because although they can produce a mule the mule itself is infertile. I understand that it is possible for C coturnix and C japonica to hybridise, whether the offspring are fertile I haven't heard. If the offspring are fertile this might be an argument for considering the two to be subspecies. However the definition of species can be more complex and involve such things as geographical boundaries.

    As far as I can tell, C japonica is the currently accepted name and it stands as a species in its own right. The ruling organisation in these matters is http://www.iczn.org/ and they would be able to give you the official position. It should be noted that species are renamed and reorganized on a regular basis as the science supports new conclusions. Genetic studies have caused a number of shakeups in taxonomy. It is a constantly evolving field, and what is the accepted version one day may not be the next.

    Hey cool my science degree came in useful! Hope that was not too boring.... taxonomy can be very dry.....
     
  4. Quail27

    Quail27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2009
    thank you very much [​IMG]
     
  5. Overeasyplz

    Overeasyplz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    Leesburg
    Quote:You are AWESOME.
     
  6. darkfur

    darkfur Chillin' With My Peeps

    why thank you, twas nothing
     

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