Hirundo rufula Temminck, 1835 (ex Levaillant, MS): 298
Original description.— Temminck introduced the name rufula for Levaillant’s
Hirondelle Rousseline and copied his description (see Levaillant, 1807: p. 116-117, pl. 245, fig. 1). Levaillant discovered the birds in Cape Province during the summer. He described both sexes and depicted “a male” as figure 1 on plate 245. By copying Levaillant’s description and referring to the Cape of Good Hope as type locality, Temminck included Levaillant’s specimens in the type series of Hirundo rufula. (ICZN, 1999, Art. 72.4).
Besides reference to the Cape of Good Hope, Temminck listed Egypt and Sicily and mentioned three specimens, which he had received from Bürger from Japan and which did not differ from those from the Cape or Sicily.
Type specimens.— The type series therefore comprise Levaillant’s specimens from the Cape of Good Hope and specimens in Temminck’s original collection which originate from Egypt, Sicily and Japan. In the Leiden collection there are three specimens which match these requirements and can be listed as syntypes of Hirundo rufula:
RMNH 88907, Ad. ♂, skin. Loc.: Sicily. Leg.: F. J. Cantraine.
RMNH 88905, Ad. ♂, skin. Loc.: Japan. Leg.: Ph. F. von Siebold.
RMNH 88906, Ad. ♀, skin. Loc.: Japan. Leg.: Ph. F. von Siebold.
There is no trace of the specimens which were available to Levaillant, nor is there a bird from Egypt in the Leiden collection which could fit as syntype. Two specimens collected by von Siebold in Japan have been identified as types, eventhough Bürger is not mentioned on the label as mentioned by Temminck. Heinrich Bürger went to Japan in 1825 as assistant of von Siebold (Fransen et al. 1997). He collected most of the specimens later described by Temminck & Schlegel in the "Fauna Japonica". Obviously, it was a matter of honour to change Bürger into von Siebold on the label. Changes of this sort happened regularly. Suppression of field assistants was a common process in the early years of natural history collecting (pers. obs.). The third specimen from Japan mentioned by Temminck is missing. Apart from these Japanese specimens, a bird collected by Cantraine on Sicily belongs to the type series of rufula. François Joseph Cantraine (1801-1868), a Belgian zoologist, went to Italy in 1827 to collect zoological material for Temminck and the Leiden museum. He stayed on Sicily between 1832 and 1833 (Fransen et al., 1997). Cantraine left Italy in 1833 with extensive collections of crustaceans and molluscs but also birds and other vertebrates. It is most likely that RMNH 88907 has been collected in this period, two years before Temminck described Hirundo rufula.
Taxonomy.— The original description of Hirundo rufula is based on Levaillant’s text on Hirondelle Rousseline (Levaillant, 1807, see above). He described and depicted “a male” in figure 1 on plate 245, which match best with Cecropis senegalensis (Linnaeus, 1766). However, the description of the “female” (not illustrated) with a red instead of a bluish crown does not fit senegalensis. The female might have been Cecropis cucullata (Boddaert, 1783) as identified by Rookmaaker (1989).
Copying Levaillant’s text, Temminck made a few changes. He changed the coloration of the underparts of the male from “bright rufous” into “rufous isabelline” and stressed the narrow brown streaks on the feathers of the underparts. The lighter underpart coloration and the brown streaks change essential characters in the identification of this swallow and might lead to misidentification of the swallow described by Levaillant. This is confirmed by the type specimens: the syntype from Sicily (RMNH 88907) can be identified as Cecropis daurica rufula (Temminck, 1835). The syntypes from Japan were separated by Temminck & Schlegel (1844: p. 33, pl. 11) as a new taxon under the name Hirundo alpestris japonica, which is still valid under current taxonomy (Dickinson, 2003; Turner, 2004).
Consequently, the type series of Hirundo rufula Temminck, 1835 is composed of two taxa: Cecropis daurica rufula (Temminck, 1835) and C. d. japonica (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844). Taking the original description into account there might even be more taxa involved, but Levaillant’s birds from the Cape as well as the type specimen(s) from Egypt to confirm this are missing.
Nomenclature.— While discussing japonica, Temminck & Schlegel (1844) applied the name rufula to the European population and restricted the type locality of rufula to “Sicily and southern France”. Recognizing the composite nature of the type series, Hume (1877) tried to exclude the specimens from Japan by proposing L[illia]. Temmincki as a new name for rufula. However, according to the Code (ICZN, 1999), Art. 72.7. Temmincki is an objective synonym of rufula, both having “the same name-bearing types despite any simultaneous restriction or application of the new replacement name.... to particular specimens or any contrary designation of type, or any different taxonomic usage of the new replacement name.” Hume’s name therefore covers not only the Sicilian specimen but also the other type specimens of Hirundo rufula Temminck, 1835.
Nomenclatural consequences.— The composite nature of the type series of Hirundo rufula under an ongoing usage of the name as a valid subspecies name makes it necessary to designate a lectotype. In order to confirm current taxonomy and taking the restriction of the type locality by Temminck & Schlegel (1844) to Sicily and southern France into account RMNH 88907 is selected as the lectotype of Hirundo rufula Temminck, 1835, regardless of any additional syntypes we are not yet aware of.
In accordance with Art. 74.7 of the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN, 1999) we hereby designate as lectotype of Hirundo rufula Temminck, 1835: RMNH 88907, Ad. ♂, skin. Loc.: Sicily. Leg.: F. Cantraine.
Following Art. 74.1.3. (ICZN, 1999) all other specimens of the type series consequently become paralectotypes:
RMNH 88905, Ad. ♂, skin. Loc.: Japan. Leg.: Ph.F. von Siebold. [= syntype of Hirundo alpestris japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1844 = Cecropis daurica japonica].
RMNH 88906, Ad. ♀, skin. Loc.: Japan. Leg.: Ph.F. von Siebold. [= syntype of Hirundo alpestris japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1844 = Cecropis daurica japonica].