Author (zoology)

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The author (pl. Authors) in the sense of the International Rules for Zoological Nomenclature (as IRZN, more often abbreviated to the English name ICZN, often simply referred to as "code"), is the person who writes a scientific work, a scientific name or another "nomenclature act" is ascribed in zoology . In addition to the authors of a scientific work, for whom the term author is used in the same sense as in common parlance, in biology one also speaks of the authors of the scientific names of a taxon .

The author of a scientific name is usually the author of the first description , i.e. the scientific work in which the name was first introduced. It is not uncommon for the author of the scientific name to be different from the author of the work in which it was published, for example several authors have written a scientific article together, but only one of them is the author of the introduced new name. This is permissible if it has been expressly specified in the relevant work or is clearly recognizable. Since every scientific name that is regulated by the code must have an author (at least since 1950), there are also numerous rules for the few special cases in which the author of the name is unclear or otherwise cannot be clearly identified. In cases in which the assignment of a name given in this way to a taxonomic unit is unclear or controversial, the species affiliation of the type specimen usually decides on the name.

In scientific works, the author's name is often given after the name of the type he describes. However, the author's name is not itself part of the name. So it is not a mistake to leave it out. In particular in works that concern questions of nomenclature , systematics or taxonomy , it is customary to indicate the author and is strongly recommended.

Rank / hierarchy

Three groups of names are dealt with in the ICZN code (hierarchical levels or groups):

  • Family-group names, containing superfamily, family, subfamily, tribe and sub-tribus,
  • Genus-group names, with genus and sub-genus,
  • Species-group names, with species and subspecies.

All names above these groups, for example orders, classes, tribes and below these groups, for example forms and varieties, are not regulated by the code. Often, however, these names are also named with one author in zoology, and this is the standard in paleontology in particular . Here, however, the scientists are in principle free to assign names, i. H. at their own discretion they can use names that would be invalid or not available according to the rules of the ICZN.

Principle of coordination

In principle, the author of a scientific name is completely free to assign a name, as long as he adheres to the rules and obligations listed in the code. There is one major exception to this. This concerns newly introduced names for new ranks that are based on names that have already been assigned. A genus must have a type species and a family must have a type genus (the assignment of which is linked to the type specimen of the species and is clearly defined by this). If a new family is now described, its name is to be formed from the name of the type genus with the standardized ending idae appended to its stem . For new ranks within the family, genus or species groups, newly introduced intermediate ranks, which include the respective type, must not only be formed with the same name stem, but are also assigned to the author of the original name. This is known as the "principle of coordination". The taxon defining the name is the so-called nominotypic taxon or nominate form.

For example, the authorship for the admiral butterfly is Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758). The nominotypical subspecies Vanessa atalanta atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758) is assigned to the same author. This also applies if it was defined and circumscribed later and by another scientist.

The admiral belongs to the family Nymphalidae Swainson, 1827, accordingly also subfamily: Nymphalinae Swainson, 1827 and tribe Nymphalini Swainson, 1827. From the generic name of the genus Vanessa Fabricius, 1807 follows the name, and author, of the subgenus Vanessa (Vanessa) Fabricius, 1807 .

Form of the author's name

The ICZN also regulates (in Article 51) the form in which the author of a taxon should be mentioned. The rules that apply for this differ from the usual ones in botany and microbiology. Usually the last name of the author is mentioned. It connects directly to the species name. Often this is followed by the date of the first description, usually separated by a comma, as in Nymphalidae Swainson, 1827. The first name of the first description, here William Swainson , is therefore not given.

Only in the case of species names is there another peculiarity. If the species is later transferred to a different genus than the one in which it was first described, the species name changes (which includes the genus name as the first part of the binomial). The author remains the same, but is then put in round brackets, including the year of the first description. Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758) thus indicates that the admiral was originally described in a different genus, here originally as Papilio atalanta Linnaeus, 1758. Unlike in botany, the author of the recombination is usually not mentioned, although this is after would not be prohibited by the code. If, as an exception, he is named, his name is always outside the brackets.

Square brackets around the author indicate that the name of the author is not derived from the original source itself, but is only known from secondary sources. Examples:

This procedure is recommended by the ICZN, but not prescribed. “Anonymous” (or Anon.) Is usually only written if the author is completely unknown. There are no square brackets around the year (actual year of publication), even if the year is not listed in the original publication or is not listed correctly.

In zoology, the surnames of authors of taxonomic names are not abbreviated as in botany, but written out in full. In applied works, such as faunistic works or identification keys, abbreviations are not infrequently used. Unlike in botany, however, these are not standardized.

Co-authorship of animal names is allowed and occurs frequently. There is no upper limit to their number. However, if there are more than three co-authors, it is permitted to name only the first author, followed by the term et al. (= “And others”) if the full number is quoted elsewhere in the paper.

Old author information

The code (the International Rules for Zoological Nomenclature) in its current form was drawn up in 1961 and is updated regularly. It is based on the rules of zoological nomenclature laid down in 1901 (see history of the nomenclature code ). Before that, certain recommendations existed (such as the “Strickland Code” from 1843), but not all zoologists considered them to be binding. For taxa that were described before 1901, the name and the name of the author have been adapted in accordance with the new rules. In older works, however, different rules for naming and attributing authors were common, and each group of animals had its own traditions. Therefore, other author names are often given in the old literature. Based on the original description , it is usually relatively easy today to determine the correct author name, since all information must be included there and no secondary sources have to be consulted.

Authors initials

If several authors have the same surname, initials are often given, i.e. the first letters of the first name or the first name. For example, for André Étienne Justin Pascal Joseph François d'Audebert de Férussac A. Férussac (instead of AEJPJF d'Audebard de Férussac) and for Jean Baptiste Louis d'Audebert de Férussac J. Férussac (instead of JBL d'Audebard de Férussac) . There are no standards for this procedure, initials are not added by all authors and not in all animal groups and databases. However, they are very useful when several researchers with the same surname were active in a narrower taxonomic specialty.

Initials are seen as problematic in bioinformatics because they lead to conflicts between taxonomists, whose job it is to provide unique names for the animals, and life scientists and others who want to use that name and work with them in electronic environments. For a computer, different strings are used to specify the name of Otto Friedrich Müller , OF Müller, O. Müller and Müller , and the difference between OF Müller, OF Müller and OF Müller can be problematic. In cases like this, where umlauts or diacritical marks are used, v. a. in foreign language literature, then also forms like Mueller or Muller. Fauna Europaea is a typical example of a database in which the initials OF and OF are read as completely different strings. There are now on the principles of fuzzy logic programs that work, such as Taxamatch that help to solve such problems.

Spelling of the author's name

There are no official standards for the spelling of authors in zoology, and unlike in botany, no one has ever attempted to propose such standards for zoological authors. The reason is the unmanageably high number of authors in zoology. There are currently no generally accepted conventions for transcribing from non-Latin scripts.

It is also widely recognized that authors' names should be written using special characters, such as diacritics , ligatures , spaces, and punctuation marks . The first letter is often written in capital letters, also in French and Belgian names (De Wilde, D'Orbigny, D'Alton, not de Wilde, d'Orbigny, d'Alton). The German title “ von ” does not belong to an author's surname. Even with Chinese and Korean names, only the last name is listed. Co-authors are separated by commas, the last co-author should be separated with "&".

Authors of nomina nuda

A new name without a description or reference or illustration is a noun nudum . A nomen nudum has no author and no date, such a name is not available. If it is desired or necessary in a text to assign an author to such a name, this should be indicated.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Definition of author in the Glossary of the International Rules for Zoological Nomenclature
  2. ^ Otto Kraus: International rules for zoological nomenclature. 4th edition. Official German text. Treatises of the Natural Science Association in Hamburg, New Series, 34: 1-232, Hamburg 2000.
  3. ICZN Code Art. 50.2
  4. ICZN Code Appendix B 12
  5. ICZN Code Art. 50.1.3
  6. ICZN Code Appendix B 12, Recommendation 51C
  8. Tony Rees (2014): Taxamatch, an Algorithm for Near ('Fuzzy') Matching of Scientific Names in Taxonomic Databases. PLoS ONE9 (9): e107510. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0107510
  9. ICZN Code Recommendation 51F

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