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auct., auctorum : Latin, of authors. Usually used in conjunction with nec or non to indicate a misapplied name, eg Tetrastichus flavovarius (Nees), auctt. (nec Eulophus flavovarius Nees, 1839 Hym. Ichn. aff. Mon., 2: 164), indicates that various authors have previously misapplied the name flavovarius ie applied it to taxa other than that circumscribed by Nees.

al., alii., aliorum : Latin, others, and others, of others. Most often used in citation of references eg (Speight, Chandler and Nash, 1975) can, and perhaps should, be reduced to (Speight et al., 1975)

alpha taxonomy : the level of taxonomy concerned with the characterisation and naming of species. (There are three study stages in the taxonomy of any group: descriptive (alpha taxonomy), systematising (beta taxonomy) and evolutionary studies (gamma taxonomy)). An example of a taxonomic exercise at the alpha level is Onder, F., 1974. a new species of Mecomma Fieber (Heteroptera, Miridae) from Turkey. J. Ent. (B) 43, pp. 115-119.

apud : Latin, with, in the work of; see in

author, of a name : the person who first published a name in such a way as to satisfy the criteria of availability; the person to whom a published work or zoological name is attributed eg Eumerus ornatus Meigen, 1822. Meigen is the author of the name ornatus

authority : the name of the author of a name, cited as such, after the name, usually in abbreviated form

authority citation : the custom of citing the name of the author of a scientific name or name combination (eg X-us Jones, X-us albus Jones, Y-us albus (Jones) )


Brit : in the sense used in British literature and by British authors. Britain in this sense includes Ireland.

beta taxonomy : the level of taxonomy concerned with the arranging of species into a natural system of higher and lower taxa "in beta taxonomy relationships are worked out more carefully on the species level and on that of the higher categories; emphasis is placed on a sound classification" (alpha taxonomy, gamma taxonomy)

bibliographic references : for nomenclatural purposes, the citation of the author and date of publication. For a scientific name, a full bibliographic reference includes, in addition, the citation of the exact place of publication of a scientific name (ie title of book or journal, volume, page etc) Syrphus vitripennis Meigen, 1822. Meig. Syst. Beschr. III, 308, 50

binomial : 1. see binominal. 2. a name consisting of two words such as the name of a species eg Musca domestica

binominal nomenclature : the system of nomenclature first standardised by Linnaeus and now generally referred to as binominal nomenclature

binominal : 1. consisting of two words such as the name of a species. 2. making use of names consisting of two words eg Musca domestica

bionominal nomenclature : the system of nomenclature adopted by the International Congress of Zoology, by which the scientific name of an animal is designated by both a generic and a specific name: the system under which each species receives a name consisting of two words, of which the first is the generic name and the second is the specific name

biological classification : the arranging of organisms into taxa on the basis of inferences concerning their genetic relationship

brackets, square : use of in citation; If the year but not the author is in square brackets uncertainty attaches only to the date of description. Use of in synonym; in citations of synonomy square brackets are often used to enclose statements of misidentifications.


catalogue : an index to taxonomic literature arranged by taxa so as to provide ready reference to at least the most important taxonomic and nomenclatural references to the taxon involved.

category, taxonomic : a concept to which taxa are assigned for the purpose of classification; a set of conventional categories constitutes the taxonomic hierarchy: designates rank or level in a hierarchic classification. It is a class, the members of which are all taxa assigned to a given rank.

cf., cfr., confer. : Latin, compare (with)

character, taxonomic : any attribute of a member of a taxon by which it differs or may differ from a member of a different taxon

checklist : usually a skeleton classification of a group listed by taxa for quick reference and an aid in the arrangement of collections or in faunal lists.

cit., citatus, -a, -um : Latin, cited

classification : the process of establishing and delimiting taxa. : A system so produced. : The delimitation, ordering and ranking of taxa (cf taxonomy, systematics, horizontal classification, vertical classification, artificial classification, biological classification

common name : colloquial name, vernacular name. eg. black kites; zwarte wouw; milan nour; brun glada; schwarzer milan

corr., correctus., -a, -um : Latin, corrected (by) indicates a 'justified emendation';


date, publication of : (1) of a work, the date of its becoming available to the general public or to relevant institutions. (2) of a name, the date on which the criteria of availability were first satisfied.

definition : a statement of the characters distinguishing a taxon

descr., descriptio : Latin, description


emend., emendavit : Latin, he emended

error : in nomenclature, an unintentional mis-spelling of a scientific name, as a typographical error or an error of transcription (cf emendation, lapsus calami)

ex : Latin, from, according to (1) used to connect the names of two persons, the first of which validly published a name proposed but not validly published by the second (2) used to connect the names of two persons, the first of which effectively published, as a synonym a name proposed in manuscript by the second excl., exclusus, -a, um. : Latin, excluded; used to indicate elements included in a taxon by a previous author or authors, but considered not to belong to it by the writer and excluded from it by him.

emend., emendavit : Latin, he emended

emend., emendatus, -a, -um : Latin, altered (by); indicates a change in circumscription of a taxon without exclusion of the type of its name: the abbreviation emend follows the authority and precedes the name of the author who effected the change.


f., fig., figura : Latin, figure

f., fil., filius : Latin, son

family : (1) a taxonomic category including one genus or group of genera or tribes of common phylogenetic origin. (2) a category next above sub-family and next below superfamily. (3) an individual taxon of the category "family" eg Muscidae, Hominidae.

family-group : the assemblage of categories from tribe to super-family inclusive

family-name : the scientific designation of a taxon of family rank recognized by the termination -idae, which termination may not be used in names of other taxa

family, nominal : a named family, objectively defined by its type-genus; thus the nominal family Muscidae is always the one to which it's nominal type-genus Musca belongs.

fauna : the animal life of a region


gamma taxonomy : the level of taxonomy dealing with various biological aspects of taxa, ranging from the study of intra-specific populations to studies of speciation and evolutionary rates and trends cf alpha taxonomy, beta taxonomy

genus : a category above species and next below the family group - an individual taxon of the category 'genus' as Musca, Homo, Bombus

genus-group : the categories genus and sub-genus

group : in nomenclature, an assemblage of co-ordinate categories. The three groups recognized in the Code are the family-group, the genus-group and the species-group each named after its basic category. : In systematics, a neutral term for a number of related taxa, especially as assemblage of closely related species within a genus (cf complex, neutral term, section).


hierarchy : in classification, the system of ranks (qv) which indicates the categorical level of various taxa (ie, kingdom to species) cf taxonomic category

higher category : of supra-specific: a higher category is one such that a member taxon includes either two or more separate (specific) lineages or a segment (gens) of a single lineage long enough to run through two or more successional species (Simpson).

higher taxon : a taxon ranked in one of the higher categories

homonym : a name identical in orthography (spelling) with another (or treated as such by the appropriate Code) and based on a different type. : in nomenclature, one or two or more identical but independently proposed names for the same or different taxa. : one of two or more identical names denoting different species-group taxa within the same nominal genus, or different taxa within the genus-group or within the family-group. The adjectives senior and junior apply respectively to the earlier and later published of two homonyms. :of senior homonym, junior homonym, primary homonym, secondary homonym. : homonymy exists when there are two species names of identical (corrected) spelling in one genus. The 1961 Code implies that the homonymy applies only to the second word of the binomen - the specific name - this is involved in homonymy as a word, not a name. Some authors use word homonymy however. eg of homonymy example of identical, but independently (sic) proposed names for the same taxon Staphylinus maxillosus Linnaeus, Staphylinus faciatus Fuessly, 1775, Creophilus fasciatus Laporte, 1835 (not Fuessly, 1775), (note these are word homonyms not name homonyms).


ib., ibid., ibidem. : Latin, the same, in the same place usage in synonomy (example). C. agathocles Walker, 1839 (Jan.) Ann. Mag. nat. Hist., 2, 353, syn. n.. C. rapo Walker, 1839, (Aug), ibid, 2 : 415, syn. n. ibid is used in place of Ann. Mag. nat. Hist.

identification : the determination of the taxonomic identity of an individual

in : Latin, in, used to connect the names of two persons, the second of which was the editor or overall author, of a work in which the first was responsible for validly publishing or making available a name eg Fannia mollissima (Haliday in Westwood, 1840)

incertae cedis : Latin, of uncertain seat, ie of uncertain taxonomic position

index, official : an index of names considered, rejected and invalidated by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, published by the International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature; indexes exist for specific, generic and family-group names and also for rejected and invalid works.

ined., ineditus, -a. -um : Latin, unpublished.


junior homonym : see homonym, junior

junior synonym : see synonym, junior


key : a tabulation of diagnostic characters of species (or genera etc.) in dichotomous couplets facilitating rapid identification.

kingdom : the highest category of the taxonomic hierarchy. For purposes of nomenclature all organisms are regarded as belonging to either to the plant or animal kingdoms; for taxonomic purposes a greater number is now recognised eg five - R.H. Whittaker in Science, N.Y., 163 : 150-163 (1969) or seven C. Jeffrey in Kew Bull. 25 : 296-9 (1971)


lapsus calami : in nomenclature, a slip of the pen, especially an error in spelling (cf error, emendation) example from synonomy. Cirrospilus Julis Walker, 1839 (Jan.) Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. 2 : 354. Cirrospilus Tulips Walker, 1839, Mon. Chal. 1 : 333 (lapus calami). Julis mis-spelt Tulis (a mistaken repeated by later authors)

Linnaean hierarchy : a structure of categorical ranks for taxa where each category except the lowest includes one or more sub-ordinate categories.

List, Official : a list of names considered, validated and approved by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, published by the International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature; lists exist for specific, generic and family-group names and also for approved works


m., mihi : Latin, to me, dative singular of ego I; used after a name to indicate the writers responsibility for its proposal. eg X-us albus mihi, a species named by me

manuscript name : in nomenclature, an unpublished scientific name contractions MS. MSS.

misidentification : the assignment of a specimen, population or taxon to a taxon to which it is generally (or later0 considered it does not belong.


nec : Latin, and not (of); nor (of), used to distinguish homonyms eg fusca (Freeman, 1950), nec (Macquart, 1824) indicates that it is the taxon described under fusca by Freeman in 1950 that is being referred to and not that to which Macquart gave the same name in 1824, eg 2. Tetrastichus xanthops Thomson, 1878, Hym. Scand., 5 : 287 (nec Eulophus xanthops Ratzeburg, 1844, Ich. Forstins., 2 : 170).

non : Latin, not

natural selection : the unequal contribution of genotypes to the gene pool of the next generation, through differential mortality and differences in reproductive success, caused by components of the environment.


overall similarity : a (usually numerical) value of similarity calculated by the summation of similarities in numerous individual characters.


phylogeny : the study of the history of the lines of evolution in a group of organisms; the origin and evolution of higher taxa (cf classification).

partim : Latin word meaning partly or some. In taxonomy this is used to indicate when a taxon is split and it only contains part of the original entity. Example of usage The genus Geotrupes has been split in a taxonomic revision into several genera. One of these is Trypocopris with the generic synonym of Geotrupes partim. Tyrcoopris only contains some of the species previously included in Geotrupes.

pre-Linnaean name : a name published prior to Jan. 1st, 1758, the starting point of zoological nomenclature.

pro. spec., pro speci : Latin, as a species; used to indicate that a name of a taxon regarded as a hybrid was originally published as a name of a species.

pro. syn, pro synonymo : Latin, as a synonym; used to indicate that a name was originally published in synonomy as a synonym.


quoad : Latin, as to, as regards, with respect to; used in citation to indicate what part of a taxon as circumscribed by a previous author is being referred to by the writer.


rank : the level in the taxonomic hierarchy of a category and of the taxa of that category.

ranking : the placement of a taxon in the appropriate category in the hierarchy of categories.

rite : Latin, properly; according to the rules.


sensu: Latin notation meaning in the sense of, example Meligethes stierlini Reitter, 1872 and M. stierlini sensu Easton 1955 (Col. Nitidulidae), the term sensu here indicates that the name Meligethes stierlini has been used to refer to two different taxa (Easton in 1955 referred to what he believed to be the Meligethes stierlini in Reitters sense but in fact he had a specimen belonging to a different taxon now named M. coronillae) Ent. mon. Mag. 1962. 97: 74.

sensu stricto : Latin phrase meaning in the strict sense or in the narrow sense. Sometimes this is abbreviated to s.s., s. str., sens. str. or sens. strict. but it is always given in full in InvertebrateIreland Online checklists. When this terms is used it means the taxon is being used in the sense of the original author or without taxa sometimes associated with it. Examples of usage Rhantus sensu stricto means the nominate subgenus of Rhantus

synonymy: In scientific classification, synonymy is the existence of multiple systematic names to label the same organism. If it is later decided that this name should change, the original author label is retained, but placed in parentheses, eg. Crypticus quisquilius (Linnaeus, 1761). It often happens that an organism that has already been described is later described again, and given a different name, by a scientist who was not aware of the earlier description, or did not recognise the organism as being the same as the one already described. In that case, when the identity of the two organisms is subsequently recognised, the earlier name generally takes priority, and the later name is noted as a synonym. It can also happen that a renaming is proposed, and acquires some currency, but is not accepted; or it is accepted, but then abandoned in the light of later research, with a reversion to an earlier name. So the current name may not be the one most recently proposed.

Scientific classification: Scientific classification or biological classification is how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. Modern classification has its roots in the system of Carolus Linnaeus, who grouped species according to shared physical characteristics. These groupings have been revised since Linnaeus to improve consistency with the Darwinian principle of common descent. Molecular systematics, which uses genomic DNA analysis, has driven many recent revisions and is likely to continue to do so. Scientific classification belongs to the science of taxonomy or biological systematics.

scientific name - the binomial or trinomial designation of an animal; the formal nomenclatural designation of a taxon (cf vernacular name).

sec., secundum - Latin, according to.

synchronic species - species which occur at the same time level.

specific name : the second word in the name of a species : the name of a species.


taxa: A taxon (plural taxa) is an element of a taxonomy, e.g. in the scientific classification in biology. For example, in biology, the family Hominidae is one taxon, as is the genus Homo and the species Homo sapiens. Taxa form a hierarchical scheme, each being broken down into subtaxa.

taxon : a taxonomic group (or unit, or entity) of any rank: a taxonomic group that is sufficiently distinct to be worthy of being distinguished by name and to be ranked in a definite category.

t., tab., tabula : Latin, plate

taxonomic category : designates rank or level in a hierarchic classification. It is a class, the members of which are all taxa assigned to a given rank.

taxonomic species : a general expression for any taxon which has been called a species and given a specific name available under the International Rules of Nomenclature (Cain, 1954).


uninomial : a name consisting of one word, such as the name of a genus, family or Kingdom.

uninominal : consisting of one word, such as the name of a genus, family or Kingdom: making use of names consisting of one word.

uninominal nomenclature : the designation of a taxon by a scientific name consisting of a single word; required for taxa of above species rank.


valid name : an available name that is not pre-occupied by a valid senior synonym or homonym.

variation, ecophenotypic : variation caused by non-genetic responses of the phenotype to local conditions of habitat, climate etc.

variety : One of the most common and absurd terms in taxonomy has been variety, an ambiguous term of classical (Linnaean) taxonomy for a heterogenous group of phenomena including non-genetic variations of the phenotype, morphs, domestic breeds and geographic races. On topological principles each species was considered to have a fixed pattern. Everything that did not fit the idealised pattern was a variety, a conceptual extension of the scholastic accident. Like so many topological bequests, the term and concept were taken over by early evolutionary taxonomists and have continued to plague and confuse the science. It is rarely clear whether a variety is supposed to be: (1) an individual variant (2) a group of such variants or morphs conceptually associated by the variation alone and not forming a population or (3) a distinguishable population with a species analogous to, or perhaps identical with, a sub-species. Varieties, usually witout any claear or defined meaning, have frequently been inserted in classifications and given trinominal, quadrinomial or some other kind of symbolic designation. There can be no serious doubt that the variety as a category in classification should now be abandoned altogether. In the first two senses it does not refer to populations and therefore connot have taxa, which are composed of populations by definition, as members. In the last sense it refers to populations acceptable as taxa only when it is synonomous with subspecies (Simpson).


weighting : a method for determining the phyletic information content of a character : the evaluation of the probable contribution of a character to a sound classification


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