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RE: MEP and three-letter codes
Wright Huntley wrote:
> Jim Eller wrote:
> > Ok I give up. What the heck are MEP??
> > Why not use the actual name?
> It's a synonym of ORT. <VBG>
> See Scheel's Atlas for all the three-letter designations he gave
> to killies as a shorthand way of dealing with such a huge
> number of species.
The way that these Three-letter Codes are used in Scheel's atlas can be very
confusing and there is inadequate explanation provided in that book.
If one looks at the captions below the photos at the back of the book one
will, for example, see below a photo of N. melanospilus:
Nothobranchius melanospilus, (MEP) [ORT]
This does not mean that MEP is synonymous with ORT (which is the code for N.
orthonotus, a quite distinct species). The code in parentheses is that for
the species illustrated and the code in brackets (squared) is, I presume,
the group to which the species belongs (according to Scheel), i.e. Scheel
placed N. melanospilus in the N. orthonotus group. I have not gone through
the book word for word but nowhere can I find an explanation of this - the
reader is left to make his/her own interpretations. Just one more reason why
I say this is a very poorly put-together book.
> *N. melanospilus* is the subject species, BTW.
> IMO, you are a good candidate to join my movement to stamp out TLAs, Jim.
I agree entirely with you Wright, in that the use of these three-letter
codes should be discouraged. When Scheel devised this "shorthand" form of
representing fish names in the 60s there were relatively few species to deal
with and he was, in any case, only concerned with the Old World species. It
was, therefore, possible to come up with codes that, on the whole, were
abbreviated forms of the species names (e.g. RAC = N. rachovii; GUE = N.
guentheri, etc.). Many of these were logical and quite easy to remember.
Now, 30 plus years on and including all the New World killies, the number of
species to which one would have to assign codes to is vast and all sorts of
meaningless, illogical combinations of letters have to be used to avoid
duplication. Using this system requires having a key list at hand constantly
which more or less defeats the purpose. Trying to commit them all to memory
is an almost impossible task and akin to learning a new language or a vastly
expanded form of morse code. And there are other problems with the
three-letter code system that I won't get into now. Personally, I find it
easier to become familiar with the actual fish names. If we use those there
will be far less confusion.
Brian R. Watters
University of Regina
Regina, Sask. S4S 0A2, Canada
Ph: (306) 584-9161 (home); (306) 585-4663 (work)
Fax: (306) 585-5433
E-mail: bwatters at sk_sympatico.ca
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