Emys vulgaris Gray, 1831
Fig. 5. Mauremys rivulata, RMNH.RENA 3327, alcohol preserved syntype Emys vulgaris. Note 19th century glass-bulb attached to keep specimen floating upright in bottle.
Emys vulgaris Gray, 1831: 24 (part).
Emys Sigritzii Gray, 1831: 24.
Cl. Sigritzii Temminck & Schlegel, 1834: 53.
Emys Siegritzii; Fritz & Wischuf, 1997: 248, 249.
Mauremys rivulata; Fritz & Wischuf, 1997: 256
Paralectotype: RMNH.RENA 3327 (alc.). Loc. ‘Dalmatia’ [former Yugoslavia]. Leg.: Michahelles.
Current name: RMNH.RENA 3327 Mauremys rivulata (Valenciennes, 1833).
Remarks.― The nomenclatural history of RMNH.RENA 3327 is rather confused and complicated. In his description of Emys vulgaris, Gray (1831) mentioned that he had seen a specimen in Leiden [‘Emys Sigritzii: Michaux, MSS (v.Mus. Leyd. Mus.Brit)’], which he considered as belonging to his E. vulgaris (note that Gray on the errata page rectifies Michaux to Michahelles), thus making it a syntype of that name. Gray’s E. vulgaris generally has been considered a synonym of Mauremys leprosa (Schweigger, 1812), but Fritz & Wischuf (1997) pointed out that it was based on a mixture of Mauremys leprosa, M. rivulata and a species of Rhinoclemmys, either R. areolata (Duméril & Bibron, 1851) or R. pulcherrima (Gray, 1856). The name E. vulgaris could constitute a threat to the stability of the last three species names mentioned. In order to avoid nomenclatural upheaval, Fritz & Wischuf (1997) selected the drawing of a juvenile M. leprosa published by Gray (1831 pl. 4, upper drawing) as lectotype of E. vulgaris, thus removing possible problems for the other species names mentioned. They also considered the possibility of RMNH.RENA 3327 being a syntype of Clemmys Sigriz, but discarded this possibility on the basis of Michahelles’ (1829) clear statement about the provenance (Spain) of the specimens of C. Sigriz, which he said were different from specimens from Dalmatia.
RMNH.RENA 3327 on the old label on the outside of the bottle in which it is preserved (still readable in the 1990s, but now illegible) was indicated as being the possible type of Clemmys Siegritzii (sic!, misspelling on label) (Fritz & Wischuf, 1997: 248, 249; MSH pers. obs.). This is strengthened by a remark of Temminck & Schlegel (1834: 53) about this name: ‘Mr. Michahelles l’avait déjà décrit d’après les individues, rapports de Dalmatie, et qu’il a bien voulu céder à notre Musée.’ [= Mr. Michahelles already described it after specimens reported from Dalmatia, and has been so kind to present it to our museum]. In footnote 3 referring to Michahelles’ (1829) publication they use the name Cl. Sigritzii, a name never used by Michahelles, who used C. Sigriz in honour of the collector. However, this taxon has as its type locality ‘Hispaniae meridionalis, venditur in urbibus Hispaniae’ (p. 1300) and not Dalmatia, as suggested by Temminck & Schlegel (1834). Although on the old label a more recent identification as Clemmys leprosa is written in pencil, the specimen in RMNH.RENA 3327 actually is a halfgrown Mauremys rivulata, a species that occurs near Ragusa (= Dubrovnik) in former Yugoslavia (Fritz & Wischuf, 1997), which is a locality mentioned by Michahelles (1829), being a place where Clemmys caspica [= Mauremys rivulata] had been collected. In the original registerbook RMNH.RENA 3327 is registered as: ‘Emys caspica, Dalmatie, Michah.’. Thus there does not seem to be any doubt about the locality and the collector. In Spain the species of Mauremys occurring there is M. leprosa, and most authors have correctly considered Clemmys Sigriz Michahelles, 1829 a synonym of M. leprosa. The indication ‘type’ on the old label of RMNH.RENA 3327 probably was due to the misunderstanding of Temminck & Schlegel about the correct identification and allocation of RMNH.RENA 3327.