The 2012 paper, “A contribution to the Ichneumoninae fauna of Sicily (Hymenoptera Ichneumonidae,” was written by Matthias Riedel and Salvatore Tomarchio, and deals with the so-called ichneumon wasps (or flies), a family with some 60,000 member species worldwide and one that, as this Wikipedia entry notes, caught the particular attention of Charles Darwin:
I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.
The ichneumonidae had Darwin questioning his faith in a benevolent higher power, and this case might leave you scratching your head about the order of things in general. As the retraction notice states:
We herein joint refer to the publication: Matthias Riedel, Salvatore Tomarchio (2012) A contribution to the Ichneumoninae fauna of Sicily (Hymenoptera Ichneumonidae), Bollettino della Società Entomologica Italiana, 144 (3): 125-135, for properly retract the article according to the “Guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics” (COPE, 2009). The reasons for invoking the retraction of the subject paper are based on an unethical approach for the use of the primary scientific data sources. in fact, the data taken from Turrisi G.F. collection (full property of Turrisi G.F. and only temporarily stored at Zsm-Zoologische Staatssammlung Munchen, Germany) have been used without the previous permission of the rightful owner and without taking into account the ongoing researches on the same material by G.F. Turrisi, belonging to a well raised project in cooperation with the staff at Zsm, namely with Prof. Klaus Schoenitzer and dr Erich Diller, as stated by official published publication and documented stages attended by Turrisi G.F. at Zsm. Both the Authors, according with Turrisi G.F., agree to invalidate the publication by Riedel & Tomarchio (2012) according the ethic law, in order to establish the rightness for the use of the data and to release the two authors from any responsibility for improper use of the scientific data of Turrisi G.F. entomological collection.
We’re curious about several things in this passage, and have tried to reach some of the people involved for clarification. The first is the notion that the data were only “temporarily stored” at the Munich institute. How might that work? Who actually had ownership of the data?
Another thing is Turrisi’s claim that he had “official published publication” of his work. We think this might be the publication to which the notice refers: “Ichneumon flies from Sicily, with descriptions of new taxa.” It contains this line:
The material is stored in the collection of G.F. TURRISI, and partly (holotypes of the new taxa) in the collection of Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Germany (ZSM).
This document suggests that Turrisi indeed described Sicilian flies first (in pretty enthusiastic detail).