Falsified data associated with specimens of birds, mammals, and insects from the Veragua Archipelago, Panama, collected by J.H. Batty ; American Museum novitates, no. 3620

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New York, NY : American Museum of Natural History
The professional collector Joseph H. Batty obtained birds, mammals, and insects in Panama in 1901 and supposedly 1902, at least some of which have long been thought to have been labeled with suspicious locality information. Examination of catalog records for birds and mammals, the labels of hundreds of specimens of birds, and archival material provided no concrete evidence of Batty collecting anywhere in Panama except on Isla de Coiba and in the vicinity of Boquete and Boquerón in mainland Chiriquí Province. His series of birds from Coiba contains some taxa that are recognizable as endemic subspecies from Coiba but also contains many specimens of the same species belonging to mainland subspecies in addition to species not known to occur on the island. Analysis of the types of labels used by Batty on birds proved useful for determining which Coiba specimens are the more likely to have authentic locality information. Batty's series of mammals from Coiba, upon which four new taxa were based, also probably contains mislabeled specimens. The series of birds and mammals labeled by Batty as having come from the smaller, low-lying Pacific islands of Chiriquí and Veraguas (Veragua Archipelago), with dates of 1902, contains specimens of many taxa that either are highland species or do not occur in the only habitats likely to be present on some of the islands, or that have never been found on any island elsewhere in Panama, including the very large Isla de Coiba. The itinerary reconstructed from specimen labels as well as the number of specimens are not consistent with the realities of transportation or human capabilities. It is concluded that the specimens in this series probably came from the general area of Batty's two mainland localities in Chiriquí and that he never went to the smaller islands. Accordingly, the type locality of the porcupine Coendou rothschildi Thomas, 1902, should be altered from Isla Sevilla to the vicinity of Boquerón, Chiriquí. With very few exceptions, all of Batty's specimens with questionable locality were sold by him to the private collector Walter Rothschild and do not involve specimens that Batty provided to other museums. Another small series of birds, including some very rare ones, obtained through Batty and labeled as from Chitra, Veraguas, also have untrustworthy date and locality information.
37 p. : ill., map ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 32-33).