Eschmeyer’s Catalog of Fishes

Eschmeyer's GENERA table contains all generic names of fishes

A sound nomenclatural system is essential to deal effectively with the estimated 25,000 extant species of fish. W.N. Eschmeyer of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) has taken on the task to review all published original descriptions of fishes, starting with the 10th edition of Systema Naturae (Linnaeus 1758). As a first result, he published the Catalog of the Genera of Recent Fishes (Eschmeyer 1990) which reviewed more than 10,000 generic names and which was widely recognized as a standard.

In 1998, he published the Catalog of Fishes (Eschmeyer 1998), which contained an updated version of the genera as well as a review of the more than 53,000 names of fishes that have been proposed as new species. The databases used to compile this work are distributed on CD-ROM together with the printed version. W.N. Eschmeyer kindly allowed FishBase to include his SPECIES, GENERA, REFERENCE and MUSEUM tables. The complete Catalog of Fishes with CD-ROM can be ordered from the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA.

The sections below are taken¾ with permission¾ from the introduction of the Catalog of Fishes. Note that the arrangement of the information in the database forms as presented in FishBase differs slightly from the Catalog.


Eschmeyer, W.N. 1990. Catalog of the genera of recent fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. 697 p.

Eschmeyer, W.N., Editor. 1998. Catalog of fishes. Special Publication, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. 3 vols. 2905 p.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae secundum Classes, Ordinus, Genera, Species cum Characteribus, Differentiis Synonymis, Locis. 10th ed., Vol. 1. Holmiae Salvii. 824 p.

Rainer Froese