Taxonomic Freedom and the Role of Official Lists of Species Names

  title={Taxonomic Freedom and the Role of Official Lists of Species Names},
  author={Gregory B. Pauly and David M. Hillis and David C. Cannatella},
Abstract The sixth edition of the Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America (Crother, 2008, SSAR Herpetological Circular 37:1–84) is the “Official Names List” for the three major North American herpetological societies. Although this publication is intended to aid users of scientific and common names, we argue that current practices for authoring, reviewing, and using this list, in some cases, generate taxonomic chaos. By this we mean that users are… 

Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species

This paper calls upon the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to incorporate effective measures into the Code to prevent the destabilizing influence of the proliferation of names for taxa that have not been established as real biological entities through the normal processes of peer reviewed publication.

Confronting taxonomic vandalism in biology: conscientious community self-organization can preserve nomenclatural stability

It is shown that when there is widespread consultation and agreement across affected research communities, setting aside certain provisions of the Code can constitute an effective last resort defence against taxonomic vandalism and enhance the universality and stability of the scientific nomenclature.

Are Standard Names Lists Taxonomic Straightjackets?

Abstract Standard names lists of the North American herpetofauna have been published since 1882, with the newest list published in 2008. The most recent list was criticized by Pauly et al. in this

To name or not to name: Criteria to promote economy of change in Linnaean classification schemes.

It is concluded that not all TNCs lead to equally informative and stable taxonomies and provides a workflow scheme to guide the procedure of taxonomic decisions concerning the creation or modification of supraspecific classifications.

The Generification of the Fossil Record

Ideally, evolutionary studies that are actually about species should be pursued using species-level data rather than proxy data tabulated using genera, and greater critical attention should be focused on the degree to which attributes tabulated at the generic level reflect biological properties and processes at the species level.

A new species of leopard frog (Anura: Ranidae) from the urban northeastern US.

Taxonomic Revision of Philippine Sun Skinks (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae: Eutropis), and Descriptions of Eight New Species

This work rectifies the major taxonomic problems present in Philippine Eutropis by providing formal descriptions for eight new species, including three of the four new species in the E. multicarinata species complex, and demonstrates that this group includes at least 14 distinct evolutionary lineages.

Species Delimitation in Herpetology

  • D. Hillis
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Herpetology
  • 2019
The future will bring a synthesis of many older practices with the new powerful analysis of genomic data sets, leading to a reevaluation and reversal of much of the recent overly enthusiastic splitting of geographically variable species.

Spatiotemporal Diversification of the True Frogs (Genus Rana): A Historical Framework for a Widely Studied Group of Model Organisms.

A well-resolved, time-calibrated phylogeny from sequences of six nuclear and three mitochondrial loci sampled from most species of Rana is used to clarify the group's diversification and global biogeography, and suggests that previous classifications were misled by morphological homoplasy and plesiomorphic color patterns.



Constraints in naming parts of the Tree of Life.

  • D. Hillis
  • Biology
    Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
  • 2007

Species names in phylogenetic nomenclature.

Here, 13 methods for naming species in the context of phylogenetic nomenclature are contrasted with each other and with Linnaean binomials and a fundamental dichotomy among the proposed methods distinguishes those that retain the entire binomial of a preexisting species name fromThose that retain only the specific epithet.

Generic Names Proposed in Herpetology by E. D. Cope

This list of Cope genera is prepared for the Cope anniversary number of the journal named in his honor and has a few omissions, at least one erroneous inclusion, and a few erroneous datings, but these do not seriously detract from its usefulness.

Stems, nodes, crown clades, and rank‐free lists: is Linnaeus dead?

  • M. Benton
  • Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2000
The tenets of phylogenetic nomenclature have gained strong support among some vocal theoreticians, and rigid principles for legislative control of clade names and definitions have been outlined in the PhyloCode.


A new taxonomy of living amphibians is proposed to correct the deficiencies of the old one, based on the largest phylogenetic analysis of living Amphibia so far accomplished, and many subsidiary taxa are demonstrated to be nonmonophyletic.

An Evolutionary Systematist's View of Classification

The goal of evolutionary systematics, to provide classifications of maximum utility through maximnum use of evolutionary theory, has failed of accomplishment to the extent that practitioners of evolutionarySystematics have relied upon descriptive rather than theoretical definitions of terms.

The Amphibian Tree of Life: Ideologie, Chaos oder biologische Realität?

It is argued that the classificatory proposals of FROST et al. (2006) altogether constitute a great advance in the authors' understanding of amphibian relationships despite many avoidable analytical shortcomings and problems of data quality.

Around the world in 10 million years: biogeography of the nearly cosmopolitan true toads (Anura: Bufonidae)

The origin of the enigmatic Caribbean lineage was found to be consistent with colonization following the bolide impact at the K/T boundary, providing the first, firm foundation for understanding true toad divergence times and their truly remarkable and global radiation.


The patterns of relationships among the trunk-ground and grass-bush species suggest that one of these ecomorphs may have been ancestral to the other and that one or both evolved convergently, according to the preferred phylogeny and divergence dates estimated by NPRS analyses.

Ollotis Cope, 1875 is the Oldest Name for the Genus Currently Referred to as Cranopsis Cope, 1875 (Anura: Hyloides: Bufonidae)

The gender of Ollotis Cope, 1875 is also at play, and this is the oldest available name for the genus referred to by Frost et al. (2006) as Cranopsis.