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Posted: Dec 28 2008

Tampaella mera (Say, 1838), Mera Tellin

Previously Angulus merus (Say, 1838)

April 1, 2016 – Harry Lee notes that “most of the New World spp. previously assigned to Angulus Mühlfeld, 1811, are now considered an exclusively Indo-West Pacific group, … are now placed in Ameritella Huber, Langleit, and Kreipl in Huber, 2015*.” Among them is Angulus merus. So, in books, papers and data bases you might peruse published or updated since 2015, you may find this species identified as Ameritella merus. In the interest of continuity and ease of reference for those relying upon older references, and to minimize my workload, I am refraining from updating to this name until this change has been more widely utilized.  

*Huber, M., 2015. Compendium of Bivalves 2. A Full-Color Guide to the Remaining Seven Families. A Systematic Listing of 8'500 Bivalve Species and 10'500 Synonyms. ConchBooks, Hackenheim, Germany.

Presented in Abbott (American Seashells 1974) as Tellina mera Say, 1834.

When I first posted this presentation I cited Say’s work as 1834, which for those of you familiar with this species will note is the citation that has been cited in works since Abbott’s American Seashells in 1974 to Mikkelsen’s & Bieler’s recent Seashells of Southern Florida - Bivalves in 2008. We were all in error. Upon reviewing my posting Harry Lee, always the stickler for accuracy and a remarkable researcher, sent me the following communication (slightly altered for brevity) documenting the correct citation date of 1838.

Harry G. Lee
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008
Subject: Angulus merus (Say, 1834)

Dear Marlo,

The date of description is not 1834 (Abbott, 1974; Turgeon, Quinn, et al., 1998, Malacolog, etc.). Volume VII of Say's American Conchology, in which Tellina mera was named, was actually published in 1838, under the editorial guidance of T. A. Conrad and five years after Say's untimely death (Wheeler, 1935).


Binney, W.G. 1858. The complete writings of Thomas Say on the conchology of the United States. H. Bailliere Co., New York. 1-252 + 75 plates.
Wheeler, H.E., 1935. Timothy Abbott Conrad, with particular reference to his work in Alabama one hundred years ago. Bull. Amer. Paleont. 23(77): 1-157.


I wondered why writers had been citing 1834 if the first publication was in 1838. So, I responded with the following inquiry.

“From: marlo
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008
Subject: Angulus merus (Say, 1834)

I guess that means Say’s Volume VII American Conchology was produced in 1834 but not published until 1938? If the original product is dated 1834, but not included in a publication until a later date, then the later date rules? Back in 1834 was the requirement for “publication” that strict? Or, was documented original work sufficient?


Harry replied (slightly altered for brevity):

“From: Harry G. Lee
Sent: December 28, 2008
Subject: Angulus merus (Say, 1834)

Dear Marlo,

The work was not dated. There is no evidence that it was "produced" in 1834, and, even if it were, that would have no bearing on the taxonomic nomenclature within the opus.

This is a simply matter of subsequent workers assuming the date of publication was 1834 (which was the correct date for Vol. VI [not Vol. VII]). That was a wrong assumption. It took a lot of detective work by Binney and by Wheeler to unravel this one.


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