Field of Science

A taxonomic war

I just received this disturbing email to the EvolDir.
Subject: ICZN and self-publishing of species names

Dear all,

Evoldir subscribers interested in taxonomy and nomenclature please read on.

A self-proclaimed taxonomist is erecting dozens of new species every month in a series of self-published papers, based on information the scientific community generally considers extremely dubious. Until recently, this has mainly concerned Australian snakes, but the latest papers totally revise the North American rattlesnakes and have caused uproar in North American herpetological circles.

PDFs of the papers, in a self-published journal called "The Australasian Journal of Herpetology", can be found here:

Note the first website is blocked on some servers!

The papers are distributed in hard copy and so count as "published" and valid under ICZN rules (International Code of Zoological Nomenclature): as the journal states, "Print copies are distributed to major libraries and institutions that satisfy deposit requirements of the ICZN, ANL and similar bodies. "

New species will continue to be described in self-published works for the foreseeable future unless the ICZN tightens rules on what counts as published (e.g. only journals indexed by Science Citation Index and books with an ISBN number and a recognised scientific publisher).

Do Evoldir members think taxonomy benefits - or is seriously hampered - by the ICZN formally recognising species, in self-published works?

I would encourage Evol Dir members to petition the ICZN if they have strong views on this matter: to date, they have strenously resisted including peer review etc in the requirements for a species name to count as "published". The ICZN committee can be contacted here:


Martin Brown
Of course ICZN should only recognize new species described in papers that have undergone peer review. Otherwise anyone with a big bank account can do it, and whether science benefits depends on the taxonomic skill and integrity of the self-publisher.

His name is Raymond Hoser, and some of his writings are very strange indeed. Under the title CREATIONISM AND CONTRIVED SCIENCE: A REVIEW OF RECENT PYTHON SYSTEMATICS PAPERS AND THE RESOLUTION OF ISSUES OF TAXONOMY AND NOMENCLATURE (pdf) he writes:
Dissent in terms of the Hoser taxonomy was only voiced by a group known as the “truth haters” or “theHoser critics”, centred on two men, namely a serial wildlife smuggler David John Williams and his close friend Wolfgang Wüster a Wales based “academic” at Bangor University with a history of publishing sloppy work.


None of their continual barrage of criticisms has had a grain of merit. However using their excess amounts of spare time and the near limitless resources of the internet, these man have managed to wage a campaign against Hoser of a scale and magnitude that is truly amazing. Recruiting a small-band of misfits, with the ability to repeatedly post under false names and to censor and edit internet sites they control, these men have at times created a veneer and perception that there is widespread disagreement with the various Hoser taxonomy papers (and anything else to do with “Hoser”, including the extremely popular venomoid (surgically devenomized) snakes) when the reality among qualified practicing herpetologists has been very different (Hoser 2004c).
This is not stuff that typically goes into a scientific paper. I don't know what to think about it, but the ICZN should definitely get on the case and figure out what's going on.


  1. I consider myself as one of these “truth-haters”, although not recognized in the paper quoted above. I recently a revision of the genus Leiopython published in an internationally recognized journal, namely "Journal of Herpetology", and Hoser commented on this paper in very offensive way. This paper is even worse than the one quoted above, but see yourself For a cross-check, my paper is available online at
    When reading Hoser allegations, it becomes clear, that he hadn’t even read my paper; otherwise he wouldn’t have made such ridiculous and false claims.
    However, it is embarrassing that neither the scientific community nor the commission (ICZN) has an instrument, and therefore the chance, to argue against such papers.

    Wulf Schleip

  2. Guys, chill out, he can say what he wants, in the end, taxonomy works by making PROPOSALS, not demands. So, the next author looks at it, makes up her/his own mind, and decide that those names are synonyms for already describe species. And that will be the end. Same for taxonomy.

    He is a annoyance, but not one that requires rewriting of The Code.

  3. I too have spoken up against this individual and have been maligned in at least one of his recent papers (not that I care very much). As a friend and colleague of the Truth Haters, and an associate if not a fully paid up member myself, I wish to point out that David Williams is not a serial wildlife smuggler, as hoser likes to suggest (the same hoser who, in his recent rattlesnake revision, honoured a convicted and jailed American reptile smuggler and trader by naming a genus after him). Mr Williams on the other hand, is a serious herpetologist who has worked tirelessly for many years in an attempt to alleviate the suffering of Papua New Guineans bitten by venomous snakes and for this alone he should be applauded. Williams' crime seems to have been to question hoser's absolute lack of scientific evidence for his species assignments, and absolute refusal to submit his work to formal, independent and unbiased peer-review, as is the norm with taxonomic descriptions and revisions.

    In response to Siglind, people would chill if it were a one-off but hoser, who expresses a dislike of academics and institutions, has named more new reptile taxa since 1st Jan 2009 than all the authors contributing to the Reptilia section of the internationally respected journal Zootaxaput together. He currently only bothers with large, emotive or dangerous species (pythons, venomous snakes) and names a significant number of them after members of his own family, his employees, even his dog. He also does not examine specimens, let alone type specimens. The guy commits continual and unremitting taxonomic vandalism by publishing in a journal edited, reviewed and published by himself, a journal which has so far not seen a single article by another author, despite being up to issue six.

    Siglind, we seem to have some things in common, I participated in Viking reenactments for over 14 years, but sadly one thing we do not have in common is patience with mr hoser.


    Mark O'Shea

  4. Lets all make our own, hard copy journals, and get our publication number to 500 papers a year! I invite you to be my reviewers, and I will be yours!

    Seriously, this journal thing only works if everybody is responsible, and aparently we have someone who isn't, so kick him out! End of line.

    Cheers Arend

  5. Wulf, that is actually the article I was quoting from, in which you are mentioned by name.

    Question: Hoser says in the description of his journal that it is peer-reviewed. What do you guys say to this?

  6. Hi Bjørn,

    mea culpa! Yes, I had recognized this to late! It looked like the first paper he published in his "journal". They all read the same... :-)

    Well, I think the whole journal is a "one-man-show", where Hoser is the sole author, the reviewer, the editor, and the publisher. I cannot imagine, that any reviewer, editor, or publisher taking his job serious, would have allowed publishing all these offensive claims, bold allegations, and everything. Moreover, a real reviewer would have also recognized at least some of the major errors in the paper.

    Here are some of them:
    On page 14, Hoser states: "In terms of his morphological analysis, Schleip deliberately excluded a host of characters, such as temporals, parietals and postoculars on the alleged basis that there was an allegedly “random distribution between different populations”. However these scales are routinely used to split other python taxa including some from Australasia (see for example, Hoser 2000b, noting that the relevant diagnoses are in turn adopted from earlier authors and therefore not merely Hoser inventions).
    However it is clear that the exclusion of characters that give no statistical standing in favour of one population versus another have been excluded by Schleip solely so as to inflate the relative importance of the obscure characteristics (based on ridiculously small sample sizes) he seeks to rely upon to separate his newly created “species”

    Look at my paper and check table 1 and 3, the characters with the acronym POC and PAR, as well as figure 1 and 2. Read the paper, and you will definitely see, that I did use the parietals and postoculars. The temporals were excluded from the analysis simply because they were statistically insignificant. Almost all specimens examined (87 out of 90 specimens) showed (if any) only insignificant variation in the number of anterior and posterior temporals, and lay within a range of 4-5 scales. Only two specimens (the holotype and one paratype of L. bennettorum, originally designated as types by Hoser, showed increased number of temporals, as pointed out in my paper. Next time, I should perhaps include the presence of two eyes and a tail into my analysis; nevertheless they are present in any specimen, just to satisfy Hoser.

    Hoser states: "Taking the Schleip interpretations and argument to it’s logical end point, you would have almost all island populations of almost all vertebrate species potentially being elevated to new “species” under his newly warped interpretation of the ESC." (Hoser 2009:15).

    Again, if Hoser had taken more time to read my paper more carefully, he would have recognized that in my paper I stated: "Therefore, the taxonomic arrangement presented is in accordance with the ESC (sensu Frost and Kluge, 1994) in that these populations are diagnosable allopatric populations and, hence, are considered separate lineages. According to Wiens (2004), allopatric populations do not necessarily need to have undergone speciation mechanisms other than geographical isolation itself. Wiens (2004) argues that strict allopatry can be considered reproductive isolation because of a lack of gene flow among populations. However, it would be impractical to consider populations as separate lineages without evidence for their differentiation in some way (Frost and Hillis, 1990; Frost and Kluge, 1994; Wiens, 2004). Finally, I agree with Frost and Hillis (1990) for the given reasons, that diagnosable allopatric populations should be considered as species rather than as subspecies. (Schleip 2008:663)

    I have very clearly stated, that, although under the ESC allopatric populations could be recognized as separate lineages, and therefore species, I consider this as impractical, if the population can not be distinguished from other such populations in some way, means being diagnosable.
    If Hoser had also read more carefully and understood the paper written by Wiens (2004), he would have known this. In fact, Hoser himself cites this paper in a previous paper of his in 2009.

    WIens (2004) clearly states "Strictly allopatric speciation occurs when two sets of populations become geographically separated, such that there is little or no gene flow between them (fig. 1). These populations are considered separate lineages in that they are geographically isolated from gene flow with each other. [...] Therefore, these mechanisms are not necessary for allopatric speciation under the ESC. Furthermore, lineages need not have exclusive gene genealogies or diagnostic morphological, behavioral, or genetic differences. Those
    attributes are critical for recognizing a species as distinct, but if those attributes do not help create the new lineages, the evolution of those attributes is not a part of speciation under the ESC." ( Wiens, 2004 check page 916-917)

    These are only two of the worst errors, no reviewer could have overlooked. If you want more, look at my site


  7. Me once again. Let's get back to the basic questions from above. I commented on some statements:

    Do Evoldir members think taxonomy benefits - or is seriously hampered - by the ICZN formally recognising species, in self-published works?

    Basically, self-published taxonomic work must not be bad, although, often such papers could very much benefit from an editorial-process. If the paper is based on evidence from objective data rather than from just a gut feeling, nobody will start arguing.

    I would encourage Evol Dir members to petition the ICZN if they have strong views on this matter: to date, they have strenously resisted including peer review etc in the requirements for a species name to count as "published".

    Adding the requirement of a peer-review process was repeatedly a topic brought to the commission of the ICZN. Until today, the commission did not see the need of such constraint.

    Of course ICZN should only recognize new species described in papers that have undergone peer review. Otherwise anyone with a big bank account can do it, and whether science benefits depends on the taxonomic skill and integrity of the self-publisher.

    Actually, you don’t even need a big bank account. All you need is a way to produce e.g. PDFs and make a number of paper copies from it. Send out perhaps 5, 10, 25, or 50 to international libraries. The “Code” does not require an ISSN or alike. You could even send out a number of CD-Roms to libraries, if you mention in the paper where you sent them to (see article 8.6, ICZN 4.ed., 2000).
    Indeed, everybody can write a taxonomic paper, rename or invent taxa, and if the author gets it published in accordance with the basic requirements of the code, the names are available. As said before, this must not be a bad thing, but, yes, the quality of the paper strongly depends on the skill and integrity of the author.

    This is not stuff that typically goes into a scientific paper. I don't know what to think about it, but the ICZN should definitely get on the case and figure out what's going on

    The ICZN won’t do anything alike!
    About 20 years ago, there were some papers published by Wells & Wellington (1984/85), renaming and inventing hundreds of taxa. Several seriously working Australian herpetologists were upset by the bad quality of these publications (sometimes the authors just proposed a new name, without designating a type or providing a description or diagnosis), and opened a case to the ICZN to have these works suppressed. Without success! The ICZN clearly stated that this would not be a matter of nomenclature, but of taxonomy, on which the commission will not judge! The papers remained published, and some of the names remained available (e.g., the python genus Antaresia). Moreover, the “code of ethics” is not part of the “Code”, and therefore, the commission will not judge on this.

    So, as you can see, there is no tool within the “Code” to stop Raymond Hoser and others from publishing evidence-free and offensive papers in self-published journals. Sad, but true!
    Check the Code online.


  8. Then, isn't there another body of scientists that can be petitioned? That he flames colleagues (?) in his papers is very bad style, but not otherwise of scientific import (though it might in some cases count as defamatory, I suppose, and Hoser gets close, e.g. with "sloppy work"). But the naming of species would seem important.

  9. Hi Bjørn,

    sadly enough there isn’t. You can’t petition the scientific community. It’s only up to them to accept Hoser’s proposals or not. But, despite the acceptance of his proposals and it’s “scientific merit”, the names, if published under the provisions of the “Code”, are available. Some of the are even senior synonyms, and if subsequent workers that had done real scientific work, figure out that a species previously poorly described by Hoser is a valid biological entity, Hoser’s name has priority, and he get author credits for naming the species. The poor scientist gets nothing! What a shame, isn’t it? This is what happened to Rawlings et al (2008). They had done some DNA work on the Australasian python phylogeny which revealed that the reticulated python (Python reticulatus and the Timor python Python timoriensis) form a distinct clade from other species in the genus Python. A new genus was warrant for these two species. They had to use a name previously proposed by Hoser, namely Broghammerus. They had done the real work, and Hoser gets the naming credits!
    The fact that Hoser “flames” others is unimportant, though, it give an impression of the author. As already said, the ICZN will not judge or rule on the basis of the “code of ethics”.
    As Hoser messed up most of the Australasian snake fauna, only few people want to work on this group because they “fear” having to use Hoser names.


  10. As Hoser messed up most of the Australasian snake fauna, only few people want to work on this group because they “fear” having to use Hoser names.

    That's truly sad.

  11. An additional thought to those not already suffering from hoseritis (a medical condition that affects academics and serious biologists but leaves coprocephalic persons, such as its source, unaffected)

    Of course patronyms are a perfectly acceptable way of naming taxa, to honour colleagues, collectors, benefactors, occasionally even partners etc. and most authors use them, sometimes, but also name species after diagnostic aspects of their morphology or endemicity. Not hoser, he only uses patronyms in a way nobody has had the gall to adopt previously. In a recent analysis of his naming methodology over a number of years this is the scoring (as if anyone is really interested but there was nothing on TV):

    Wife: two genera, one species, one subspecies;
    First daughter: three subspecies; Second daugher: two subspecies, one subgenus;(bound to cause arguments)
    Mother: one genus;
    Father: one genus;
    Uncle: one species;
    Three employees: one subgenera each (but where's the Xmas bonus?);
    Old family friend: one genus;
    His dog: one species.

    Also lawyers, solicitors politicans, a policeman, journalists (incl.same one twice), herpetologists, even his rivals and critics such is his warped sense of humour (me next, me next, God forbid!).

    As for comments made about another Truth Hater, Wolfgang Wuster who hosr claimed published sloppy work. Aa! WW is extremely highly respected, internationally, for his work (dream on RH). He has described several species of Naja (cobras) co-authored with the late Joe Slowinski and the eminent Zimbabwean herpetologist Don Broadley, and working on the taxonomy of several other venomous snake genera (his speciality). There is nothing sloppy about Dr Wuster's work, I know him as an exacting taxonomist, unlike his critic who is more a exasperating (ex)taxi-driver. Wuster also publishes in peer-reviewed publications, which means his peers can challenge his work prior to publication, and notice also he co-authors with other highly qualified and respected experts, including the aforementioned, whilst hoser is a one-man band, do I need to say more, it really is a no-brainer!

    Mark O'Shea

  12. Wife: two genera, one species, one subspecies;
    First daughter: three subspecies; Second daugher: two subspecies, one subgenus;(bound to cause arguments)
    Mother: one genus;
    Father: one genus;
    Uncle: one species;
    Three employees: one subgenera each (but where's the Xmas bonus?);
    Old family friend: one genus;
    His dog: one species.

    At least this is really funny! Also in the light of them all being snakes - though I expect your herpetologists might not see that what I mean. ;)

    Next I'd like to hear from Hoser himself here. Got anything to say in defense, Hoser? So far you're not looking good to me.

  13. I asked Hoser to comment here himself, and this is the the reply that I got:

    Thanks for the e-mail and I wish you well.
    I do not have time to respond to the crap I read on the blog.
    By all means repost my response here in full.

  14. Good morning Bjorn

    Ray Hoser apologises for being short with you but he was really busy, he had to get his latest skilfully worded taxonomic revision down to the post office before that nice Mr Postmaster shut the door, else he would have loved to chat to some you more about how he plans to rename all 3,000 species of snakes before he expires.

    Anyway Bjorn, panic over, got to the post and here it is, a revision of the genus Naja (that's cobras to anyone who doesn't know). Oh never mind that nasty Dr Wuster (and six other so-called herpetologists from Wales, France, Zimbabwe and Senegal) recently sunk Boulengerina and Paranaja into Naja to preserve the monophyly of the genus, I have a simply solution, remove them all again and then take out the forest cobra too and hey presto, like a rabbit out of a hat (and almost as quickly) I can create two new genera, one for spitting cobras and one for non-spitters and keep Boulengerina for the water cobras, burrowing cobra and that forest cobra (wonder what they look like though). I really should acknowledge the Wuster people for flagging that the forest cobra was close to the water cobra etc, it really saved me loads of time reading Molecular Biology for Dummies and all the pennies out of my piggybank on getting those annoying tests done. What does Wuster know about cobras anyway, he has only caught a few dozen in so-called countries like Senegal, S.Africa, Thailand (I don’t believe any of those place exist, he makes everything up that Welshman). So he named three in so-called academic journals, pah, I saw one at Melbourne Zoo once, it looked right at me as if to say “Ray, I don’t like my name, give me a new one”.

    Oh, and in case you were worried about Naja, I have confined that to Asian cobras, now wasn't that clever. Oh I am tired now, must get some sleep, pitvipers of South American tomorrow and that could take until the weekend because there simply lots of them to learn the names of (and then change)!
    Must get a map tomorrow, where is South America by the way?

    The pdf, how silly of me, of course

    I would forget my own name, if I didn't keep giving it to different species of big snakes (but none this time you will disappointed to learn, no, just two old friends, well you can have too much of a good thing can't you).

    Yours affectionately Raymond

    PS If you are nice to me I might name something after you!
    I know I've never met you but I've seen your picture on the blog site, and that is all I need after all! How does Bothrops ostmani sound to you then?
    Hang on, Bothrops, I can do better than that Hoserviperus ostmani, now that has a ring to it!

  15. That's almost funny right there. But not really.

  16. Taxonomic vandalism, or ivory tower elitism: that is truly THE question!

    Letting idiots have their say (whether in taxonomy, or elsewhere) is the price we pay for freedom of expression and a fair and just society.

    Bad taxonomy is nothing new, and is by no means restricted to amateur taxonomists.

    If we restrict the pool of who can be a taxonomist, then we run the risk of excluding some talented and sincere people ("better that a guilty man go free, than an innocent one be incarcerated...")

    If people like Hoser are excluded from taxonomy, it is the thin end of the wedge. Who else will be excluded next?

    If some professional taxonomists had anything remotely resembling professional ethics and courtesy, then they wouldn't be creating the problem by excluding and alienating other people


  17. Science is not a democracy. Every "contribution" is not equally worthwhile. Evidence-free taxonomy is not science, and should not be treated as such.

    What sets taxonomy apart from all other sciences is the burden of history: in any other discipline, nonsensical work simply gets ignored. In taxonomy, we do not have that luxury. The rules of the Code are such that even the most absurdly minimalist descriptions of new taxa are available, and the names "stick" even in the absence of any evidence for the relaity of the taxon they supposedly denote. Moreover, the Commission that governs the Code seems entirely unwilling to take the problem seriously and do anything to reduce the impact of taxonomic vandalism.

    Most taxonomists would be perfectly happy to let Hoser have his say and publish his taxonomic ideas to his heart's content in his own journal. All we are asking for is the right to ignore him.

  18. In reply to Truth Hater:

    No, no, no, there are ways of dealing with poor quality taxonomy* (as I said, it is nothing new, and certainly not restricted to "amateurs" like Hoser), but you don't have the right to ignore ANY published taxonomic work! That would open the door to all sorts of potential problems! Instead, one should simply grasp the opportunity to criticise (rather than ignore) the work of people like Hoser, and prove to the world that you are better than he is by publishing better quality work that shows his work to be substandard.

    *In extreme cases, names can be declared nomina dubia, and then "ignored". But, it reflects better on you if you can come up with a likely identity for the name, rather than giving up and declaring it a nomen dubium.


  19. Well for all those Ray Hoser haters, I am sure you will be pleased to know he's just named about 75 more genera of snakes and a few other bits and pieces in 2012 in the journal we have all come to love or hate.
    Worse still he's got good DNA evidence to back it all, courtesy of Alex Pyron and a few others and so we are all stuck with the names ... beauties like Maxhoservipera, Oxycrocodylus, Adelynhoserserpenae, Funkelapidus, Maxhoserus and so it goes on.

  20. Well, in the meantime, the herpetological community has found its voice, and published its reply to Hoser's ongoing taxonomic vandalism, supported by most of the major international herpetological societies and organisations, including the World Congress of Herpetology:

  21. Here is the full reference: Kaiser, H., B.I. Crother, C.M.R. Kelly, L. Luiselli, M. O’Shea, H. Ota, P. Passos, W.D. Schleip & W. Wüster (2013) Best practices: in the 21st Century, taxonomic decisions in herpetology are acceptable only when supported by a body of evidence and published via peer-review. Herpetological Review 44: 8–23

  22. Well the Kaiser rant seems to be full of evidence-free taxonomy such as shuffling lizards between genera that they have never been in (akin to putting a Giraffe in an Elephant genus), with Wuster (an author of the paper) admitting on another internet forum that his paper is riddled with mistakes! - So we know of one paper that was not properly peer reviewed!
    In fact, even kids could have done a better show!
    So now the anti-Hoser claims will now go down in history as reckless, false and with malice.
    Even co-author of Kaiser, little yapper, Mark O'Shea wrote on his facebook wall, that Hoser will in 150 years time be regarded as the best snake taxonomist of the generation.
    Well I think he's taking things a bit far, but I will wear the compliment!
    In the meantime, save yourself a copy of the Kaiser party rant, as it is a bull-tearer of an example of what not to do and how not to write a paper.
    Of course, there is a paper that shows why the reptile paper by Kaiser et al is rubbish and you can get that from the Australasian Journal of herpetology website.

  23. Raymond, you can rant about Kaiser et al. and name-call the authors all you wish. The simple fact remains that despite a few clerical errors that slipped through in that paper, it has received the endorsement of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Australian Society of Herpetologists, the British Herpetological Society, the Chinese Herpetological Society, the Deustsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde, The Herpetologists’ League, the Societas Europaea Herpetologica, the Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles in New Zealand, and the World Congress of Herpetology.

    I'm sure it won't be too long before we see papers appearing that implement the actions proposed by Kaiser et al. and endorsed by most of the major herpetological societies across the globe.

    1. Well truth hater, AKA Wolfgang Wuster you said the same thing in 2009 when you told everyone to bootleg the Python and Rattlesnake names I'd proposed that year and you even got the ball rolling with your fraudulent renaming of the Cobra Genus Spracklandus.
      Three years later, by mid 2012, not one single herpetologist had taken up your invitation to step outside the rules of zoological nomenclature and rename the validly named taxa.
      Quite the contrary, some authors used the correct Hoser names for the relevant taxa and so it should be.

      Wuster, you know you are acting increasingly desperate day by day as your obessive campaign falters time and time again.

      You shopped your shoddy evidence free-claims to the taxonomy forum this week and were correctly condemned by other qualified scientists there for trying to set yourself up as a rival to the ICZN as a gatekeeper to rename taxa as you see fit.

      I suggest you take a read of the rules of zoology before you take your destructive crusade any further.

      I also suggest you 1/ Give up on your obessive and warped campaign before it causes the bitter end of your own faltering academic career and 2/ Seek medical help for your obvious mental disorder!

    2. Good things come to those who wait. Nobody will coin new names for taxa that do not require recognition. I am not aware of data that support recognition of any of your other 2009 taxa, at least not for those I am familiar with, so your names will continue to be treated either as unpublished names or as junior synonyms of older names denoting a larger entity.

      The proof of the pudding, in the end, will be subsequent usage by others. I know you are aware of several other recent cases where names coined by some of your colleagues have been ignored and overwritten by others. The new names seem to be taking off very nicely, if the number of Google and Google Scholar hits is anything to go by, and that goes back to long before Kaiser et al.

      The inconvenient truth that you fail to acknowledge is that most major herpetological organisations and many of the world's leading herpetological systematists endorse the Kaiser et al. paper. It thus seems conceivable that this trend is likely to continue and increase in the coming years/decades, as more herpetologists come to realise that it is not reasonable that we should be expected to offer the sanity of our discipline as a sacrificial lamb for a system of nomenclature that seems unwilling or unable to protect us.

  24. Dear all, the proper response to Wuster (Truth hater's) attack on the rules of Zoology is now on the web as a pdf.
    Go to and find issue 18 of AJH.
    Abstract below:
    The science of herpetology is built on evidence, ethics, quality publications and strict compliance with the rules of nomenclature.


    Snakebusters: 488 Park Road, Park Orchards, Victoria, 3134, Australia.
    Phone: +61 3 9812 3322 Fax: 9812 3355 E-mail:
    Received 17 April 2013, Accepted 24 April 2013, Published 29 April 2013.

    This is a rebuttal of a dangerous and dishonest blog by Hinrich Kaiser and eight other renegades. These are Mark O’Shea, Wolfgang Wüster, Wulf Schleip, Paulo Passos, Hidetoshi Ota, Luca Luiselli, Brian Crother and Christopher Kelly. It was published in Herpetological Review (Kaiser et al. 2013). The journal is edited by one of the authors (Schleip) and the “paper” evidently bypassed all standard peer review and editorial quality control as outlined in the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) ethics statement (Anonymous 2013a), the SSAR being publisher.
    Kaiser et al. make numerous false and defamatory statements against this author (Raymond Hoser) as part of an obsessive 15-year campaign.
    The claims made without evidence against Hoser are in fact shown to be true for the accusers.
    These include, “evidence free taxonomy”, fraud, “unscientific taxonomic publications”, “taxonomic terrorism”, plagiarisation, “unscientific taxonomy”, “unscientific practices”, “unscientific incursions” and “deliberate acts of intellectual kleptoparasitism”.
    Kaiser et al. seek to break and destroy the rules of Zoological Nomenclature (Ride et al. 1999) including the three critical rules of:
    1/ Homonymy (Principal 5, Article 52 and elsewhere),
    2/ Priority (Principal 3, Article 23 and elsewhere),
    3/ Stability (Principal 4, Articles 23, 65 and elsewhere),
    as well as the ethics of the Code (Appendix A).
    They seek to do this in the first instance by boycotting established nomenclature and the established rules in a war plan that must by their own account run for decades (Kaiser et al. 2013, p. 20).
    They then seek coin their own names for hundreds of taxa already properly named by others and attempting to take credit for the research work of the earlier authors. This will create unprecedented taxonomic instability and confusion.
    Their actions will effectively:
    1/ Freeze the progress of herpetological taxonomy and if copied, perhaps all of zoology;
    2/ Put lives at risk;
    3/ Increase the likelihood of extinctions of rarer taxa.
    Their alleged loophole in the Zoological Code which they assert allows them to create hundreds invalid junior synonyms to usurp the proper names, as quoted by them, does not in fact exist!
    This is because Kaiser et al. misquoted the Zoological Rules in their badly written paper.
    Furthermore the repeated claim by Kaiser et al. to have the official backing of the ICZN for their scheme is also shown to be a lie.
    Keywords: Hinrich Kaiser; Wulf Schleip; Wolfgang Wüster; Mark O’Shea; Peter Uetz; Raymond Hoser; Richard Wells; Herpetological Review; Australasian Journal of Herpetology; Australian Biodiversity Record; Journal of Herpetology; peer review; fraud; ethics; taxonomy; ICZN; rules; nomenclature; homonymy; priority; stability; synonym; boycott; Leiopython; Laudakia; Adelynkimberlea; Spracklandus.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS