A species description is a formal description of a newly discovered species, usually in the form of a scientific paper. Its purpose is to give a clear description of a new species of organism and explain how it differs from species which have been described previously or are related. The species description often contains photographs or other illustrations of the type material and states in which museums it has been deposited. The publication in which the species is described gives the new species a formal scientific name. Some 1.9 million species have been identified and described, out of some 8.7 million that may actually exist. Millions more have become extinct.
A name of a new species becomes valid (available in zoological terminology) with the date of publication of its formal scientific description. Once the scientist has performed the necessary research to determine that the discovered organism represents a new species, the scientific results are summarized in a scientific manuscript, either as part of a book, or as a paper to be submitted to a scientific journal.
A scientific species description must fulfill several formal criteria specified by the nomenclature codes, e.g. selection of at least one type specimen. These criteria are intended to ensure that the species name is clear and unambiguous, for example, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) states that "Authors should exercise reasonable care and consideration in forming new names to ensure that they are chosen with their subsequent users in mind and that, as far as possible, they are appropriate, compact, euphonious, memorable, and do not cause offence."
Species names are written in the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, but many species names are based on words from other languages, Latinized.
Once the manuscript has been accepted for publication, the new species name is officially created.
Once a species name has been assigned and approved, it can generally not be changed except in the case of error. For example, a species of beetle (Anophthalmus hitleri) was named by a German collector after Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he had recently become chancellor of Germany. It is not clear whether such a dedication would be considered acceptable or appropriate today, but the name remains in use.
Species names have been chosen on many different bases. Most common is a naming for the species' external appearance, its origin, or the species name is a dedication for a certain person. Examples would include a bat species named for the two stripes on its back (Saccopteryx bilineata), a frog named for its Bolivian origin (Phyllomedusa boliviana), and an ant species dedicated to the actor Harrison Ford (Pheidole harrisonfordi). A scientific name in honor of a person or persons is a known as a taxonomic patronym or patronymic.
A number of humorous species names also exist. Literary examples include the genus name Borogovia (an extinct dinosaur), which is named after the borogove, a mythical character from Lewis Carrol's poem "Jabberwocky". A second example, Macrocarpaea apparata (a tall plant) was named after the magical spell "to apparate" from the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling, as it seemed to appear out of nowhere. In 1975, the British naturalist Peter Scott proposed the binomial name Nessiteras rhombopteryx ("Ness monster with diamond-shaped fin") for the Loch Ness Monster; it was soon spotted that it was an anagram of "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".
Species have frequently been named by scientists in recognition of supporters and benefactors. For example, the genus Victoria (a flowering waterplant) was named in honour of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. More recently, a species of lemur (Avahi cleesei) was named after the actor John Cleese in recognition of his work to publicize the plight of lemurs in Madagascar.
Non-profit ecological organizations may also allow benefactors to name new species in exchange for financial support for taxonomic research and nature conservation. A German non-profit organisation (gemeinnütziger Verein), BIOPAT - Patrons for Biodiversity has raised more than $450,000 for research and conservation through sponsorship of over 100 species using this model. An individual example of this system is the Callicebus aureipalatii (or "monkey of the Golden Palace"), which was named after the Golden Palace casino in recognition of a $650,000 contribution to the Madidi National Park in Bolivia in 2005.
The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) discourages this practice somewhat: "Recommendation 20A. Authors forming generic names should comply with the following ... (h) Not dedicate genera to persons quite unconcerned with botany, mycology, phycology, or natural science in general."
Early biologists often published entire volumes or multiple-volume works of descriptions in an attempt to catalog all known species. These catalogs typically featured extensive descriptions of each species and were often illustrated upon reprinting.
The first of these large catalogs was Aristotle's History of Animals, published around 343 B.C. Aristotle included descriptions of creatures, mostly fish and invertebrates, in his homeland, and several mythological creatures rumored to live in far-away lands, such as the manticore.
In 77 A.D. Pliny the Elder dedicated several volumes of his Natural History to the description of all life forms he knew to exist. He appears to have read Aristotle's work, since he writes about many of the same far-away mythological creatures.
Toward the end of the 12th century, Konungs skuggsjá, an Old Norse philosophical didactic work, featured several descriptions of the whales, seals, and monsters of the Icelandic seas. These descriptions were brief and often erroneous, and a description of the mermaid and a rare island-like sea monster called Hafgufu was included. The author was hesitant to mention the beast (known today to be fictitious) for fear of its size, but felt it was important enough to be included in his descriptions.
As the catalog of known species was increasing rapidly, it became impractical to maintain a single work documenting every species. Publishing a paper documenting a single species was much faster and could be done by scientists with less broadened scopes of study. For example, a scientist who discovered a new species of insect would not need to understand plants, or frogs, or even insects which did not resemble the species, but would only need to understand closely related insects.
Formal species descriptions today follow strict guidelines set forth by the codes of nomenclature. Very detailed formal descriptions are made by scientists, who usually study the organism closely for a considerable time. A diagnosis may be used instead of, or as well as the description. A diagnosis specifies the distinction between the new species and other species.
According to the RetroSOS report, the following numbers of species have been described each year since 2000.
|Year||Total number of species descriptions||New insect species described|
Epinephelus drummondhayi is a species of fish in the family Serranidae. It is commonly called the calico grouper, kitty mitchell, speckled hind, or strawberry grouper. It is found in Bermuda and the United States. Its natural habitats are open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, and coral reefs. It is threatened by habitat loss.
The speckled hind is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern. Species of Concern are those species about which the U.S. Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).Canary rockfish
The canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) is a rockfish of the northeast Pacific Ocean, found from south of Shelikof Strait in the eastern Gulf of Alaska to Punta Colonet in northern Baja California.Charles Paul Alexander
Charles Paul Alexander (September 25, 1889, Gloversville, New York - December 3, 1981) was an American entomologist who specialized in the craneflies, Tipulidae.
Charles Paul Alexander was the son of Emil Alexander and Jane Alexander (née Parker). Emil (the father) immigrated to the United States in 1873 and changed his surname from Schlandensky to Alexander. Charles entered Cornell University in 1909, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1913 and a Ph.D. in 1918. Between 1917 and 1919, he was entomologist at the University of Kansas, then from 1919 to 1922, at the University of Illinois.
He then became professor of entomology at Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst. He studied Diptera, especially in the family Tipulidae. He described over 11,000 species and genera of flies, which translates to approximately a species description a day for his entire career.Chimango caracara
The chimango caracara (Milvago chimango) is a species of bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It is found in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and south of Brazil. The chimango is found as far south as Tierra del Fuego and is a vagrant to the Falkland Islands.Conquered lorikeet
The conquered lorikeet (Vini vidivici) is a species of parrot that became extinct 700–1300 years ago. It lived in islands of Polynesia. David Steadman and Marie Zarriello wrote its species description in 1987.
It was discovered in the oldest archaeological layer of 1000 AD and not recorded after 1200 AD.Eucalyptus melliodora
Eucalyptus melliodora, commonly known as yellow box, is a medium-sized to occasionally tall eucalypt. The bark is variable ranging from smooth with an irregular, short stocking, to covering most of the trunk, fibrous, dense or loosely held, grey, yellow or red-brown, occasionally very coarse, thick, dark brown to black; shedding from the upper limbs to leave a smooth, white or yellowish surface.Eulachon
The eulachon (; Thaleichthys pacificus; also spelled oolichan , ooligan , hooligan ), also called the candlefish, is a small anadromous ocean fish, a smelt found along the Pacific coast of North America from northern California to Alaska.Fly
Flies are insects with a pair of functional wings for flight and a pair of vestigial hindwings called halteres for balance. They are classified as an order called Diptera, that name being derived from the Greek δι- di- "two", and πτερόν pteron "wings". The order Diptera is divided into two suborders (although one suborder is non-monophyletic), with about 110 families divided between them; the families contain an estimated 1,000,000 species, including the familiar housefly, horse-fly, crane fly, and hoverfly; although only about 125,000 species have a species description published. The earliest fly fossils found so far are from the Triassic, about 240 million years ago; phylogenetic analysis suggests that flies originated in the Permian, about 260 million years ago.
Many insects, such as the butterfly, contain the word fly in their name, but are not Dipterans. Also, the word "fly" is sometimes used colloquially and non-scientifically as a name for any small flying insect: the term "true fly" is sometimes invoked to make clear the insect being referenced is a Dipteran.
Flies have a mobile head, with a pair of large compound eyes, and mouthparts designed for piercing and sucking (mosquitoes, black flies and robber flies), or for lapping and sucking in the other groups. The suborder Nematocera (from Greek, "thready-horns") have thin, long antennae; while the suborder Brachycera (from Greek "short-horns") have short antennae. Flies have only a single pair of wings to fly; their arrangement gives them great maneuverability in flight. The hindwings (halteres) evolved into advanced mechanosensory organs, which act as high-speed sensors of rotational movement and allow them to perform advanced aerobatics. Claws and pads on their feet enable them to cling to smooth surfaces.
The life cycle of flies consists of the eggs, larva, pupa, and the adult. Flies undergo complete metamorphosis; the eggs are laid on the larval food-source, and the larvae (which lack true limbs) develop in a protected environment, often inside their food source. The pupa in higher dipterans is a tough capsule from which the adult emerges when ready to do so. Flies have short lives: for example, the adult housefly lives about a month; the mayfly about a year. The source of nutrition for adult flies is liquified food, including nectar.
Flies are of considerable ecological and human importance. They are important pollinators, second only to the bees and their Hymenopteran relatives. They may have been responsible for the first plant pollination in the Triassic. Mosquitoes are vectors for malaria, dengue, West Nile fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, and other infectious diseases; and houseflies, commensal with humans all over the world, spread food-borne illnesses. Flies can be annoyances, especially in some parts of the world where they can occur in large numbers, buzzing and settling on the skin or eyes to bite or seek fluids. Larger flies such as tsetse flies and screwworms cause significant economic harm to cattle. Blowfly larvae, known as gentles, and other dipteran larvae, known more generally as maggots, are used as fishing bait, as food for carnivorous animals, and in medicine for debridement to clean wounds. Fruit flies are used as model organisms in research. In culture, the subject of flies appears in religion, literature, cinema, and music.Gau iguana
The Gau iguana (Brachylophus gau) is a species of iguana endemic to Gau Island in the Fijian archipelago. It mostly lives in the well-preserved upland forests of the island, with smaller populations in the degraded coastal forests. It can be distinguished from other South Pacific iguanas by the male's distinctive color pattern and solid green throat. It is also the smallest of all South Pacific iguanas, being about 13% smaller than the third smallest species and 40% smaller than the largest extant species.The species was first recorded on Gau Island by the Scottish naturalist John MacGillavray in 1854, during his travels on HMS Herald. However, it did not receive a proper species description until 2017.Nepenthes barcelonae
Nepenthes barcelonae is a tropical pitcher plant native to the Philippine island of Luzon. It is known from a single mountain in the Sierra Madre range of Aurora Province, where it grows in stunted submontane forest.The specific epithet barcelonae honours Julie F. Barcelona, who discovered the species in February 2014 together with Danilo Tandang and Pieter B. Pelser..
Nepenthes barcelonae inhabits stunted submontane forest at altitudes of 1500-1700 m a.s.l. in the Sierra Madre Mts of Luzon, Philippines. The specific type locality was not included in the species description to prevent pressures upon wild populations by hobbyists. Four species have been described from the northern Visayas and Luzon, of which two are found on Luzon; the closely allied Nepenthes ventricosa, which is widespread across the island, and Nepenthes alzapan. Under Criterion B2ab(iii) of IUCN 2014, the species is assessed informally as critically endangered by the authors - it is found from a single location, with an area of occupancy and extent of occurrence less than 10km². In addition, it is threatened by the collection of plants, and the encroachment of habitat degradation, namely slash and burn agriculture and illegal logging, which were present at lower elevations.Odorrana leporipes
Odorrana leporipes is a species of frog in the family Ranidae. It is endemic to Guangdong province of China and only known from its type locality, "Lung Tao Shan" (=Mount Longdao) in northern Guangdong. It is only known from the original species description; the type series is presumed lost and the photographs of the holotype are now the iconotype.Pensoft Publishers
Pensoft Publishers (also known as: Pensoft) are a publisher of scientific literature based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Pensoft was founded in 1994, by two academics: Lyubomir Penev and Sergei Golovatch. It has published nearly 1000 academic and professional books and currently publishes 24 peer-reviewed open access scientific journals including ZooKeys, PhytoKeys, Check List, Comparative Cytogenetics, Journal of Hymenoptera Research, Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift, and Zoosystematics and Evolution.
Pensoft is part of the open-access publishing movement. The Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) is used for all journal articles. In 2012, Pensoft established a partnership with Encyclopedia of Life called the EOL Open Access Support Project (EOASP) to financially support independent taxonomists, and taxonomists living in developing countries to publish their results in Pensoft journals.Pensoft were notably one of the first publishers to facilitate the publication of data papers in collaboration with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The first data paper they published came out in 2011, published in the journal ZooKeys.Pensoft also published the first ever eukaryotic species description (Eupolybothrus cavernicolus) to combine transcriptomics, DNA barcoding, and micro-CT imaging data in the same paper, in the Biodiversity Data Journal.Peromyscus schmidlyi
Schmidly's deer mouse (Peromyscus schmidlyi), is a recently described species of deer mouse from the mountains of western Mexico. It is part of the highly complex and well-studied Peromyscus boylii species complex. The uniqueness of Peromyscus from this area had long been suspected, but was only formalized in 2004 with the publication of its species description. The species was named in honor of David J. Schmidly, a mammalogist and former president of the University of New Mexico.
The name "Schmidly's deer mouse" is ambiguous, as it is shared by another species, Habromys schmidlyi.Ptychadena wadei
Ptychadena wadei is a species of frog in the family Ptychadenidae. It is endemic to Ethiopia and only known from a small area southeast of Lake Tana, in the upper reaches of the Blue Nile. The specific name wadei honours Edward O.Z. Wade, an English illustrator and herpetology enthusiast who drew some of the illustrations accompanying the species description. Common name Wade's grass frog has been coined for it.Species
In biology, a species (/ˈspiːʃiːz/ (listen)) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.
All species (except viruses) are given a two-part name, a "binomial". The first part of a binomial is the genus to which the species belongs. The second part is called the specific name or the specific epithet (in botanical nomenclature, also sometimes in zoological nomenclature). For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the genus Boa.
None of these is entirely satisfactory definitions, but scientists and conservationists need a species definition which allows them to work, regardless of the theoretical difficulties. If species were fixed and clearly distinct from one another, there would be no problem, but evolutionary processes cause species to change continually, and to grade into one another.
Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped that species could evolve given sufficient time. Charles Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection. That understanding was greatly extended in the 20th century through genetics and population ecology. Genetic variability arises from mutations and recombination, while organisms themselves are mobile, leading to geographical isolation and genetic drift with varying selection pressures. Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer; new species can arise rapidly through hybridisation and polyploidy; and species may become extinct for a variety of reasons. Viruses are a special case, driven by a balance of mutation and selection, and can be treated as quasispecies.Specific name (zoology)
In zoological nomenclature, the specific name (also specific epithet or species epithet) is the second part (the second name) within the scientific name of a species (a binomen). The first part of the name of a species is the name of the genus or the generic name. The rules and regulations governing the giving of a new species name are explained in the article species description.
The scientific name for humans is Homo sapiens, which is the species name, consisting of two names: Homo is the "generic name" (the name of the genus) and sapiens is the "specific name".Stejneger's beaked whale
Stejneger's beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri), also known as the Bering Sea beaked whale or the saber-toothed whale, is a relatively unknown member of the genus Mesoplodon inhabiting the northern North Pacific Ocean. Leonhard Hess Stejneger collected the type specimen (a beach-worn skull) on Bering Island in 1883, from which Frederick W. True provided the species' description in 1885. In 1904, the first complete skull (from an adult male that had stranded near Newport, Oregon) was collected, which confirmed the species' validity. The most noteworthy characteristic of the males is the very large, saber-like teeth, hence the name.Taxonomy (biology)
In biology, taxonomy (from Ancient Greek τάξις (taxis), meaning 'arrangement', and -νομία (-nomia), meaning 'method') is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super-group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The principal ranks in modern use are domain, kingdom, phylum (division is sometimes used in botany in place of phylum), class, order, family, genus, and species. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the founder of the current system of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean taxonomy for categorizing organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms.
With the advent of such fields of study as phylogenetics, cladistics, and systematics, the Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms, both living and extinct.Type (biology)
In biology, a type is a particular specimen (or in some cases a group of specimens) of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, a type is an example that serves to anchor or centralize the defining features of that particular taxon. In older usage (pre-1900 in botany), a type was a taxon rather than a specimen.A taxon is a scientifically named grouping of organisms with other like organisms, a set that includes some organisms and excludes others, based on a detailed published description (for example a species description) and on the provision of type material, which is usually available to scientists for examination in a major museum research collection, or similar institution.
|Lists by year|