Nomenclatural Changes

The power of relational databases

A well-designed relational database is a powerful system and one of the few computer-based applications where you get more out than you have put in. For example, when the scientific name of the well-studied rainbow trout was changed from Salmo gairdneri to Oncorhynchus mykiss, it took us only 5 minutes to change the name in the SPECIES table, change the status of the old name in the SYNONYMS table and to enter a record for the new name. This simple change, however, updated the various checklists for 69 countries where the species occurs or has been introduced and linked 150 references, 57 common names, 21 synonyms and more than 1,000 records in 18 linked tables to the new valid species name.

Automatic creation of ERRATA

FishBase does not only link references permanently to valid names, it also records the names that were originally used in a publication (see BIBLIO above). That allowed us to create a routine that lists all nomenclatural changes that the FishBase Team has discovered so far for important taxonomic works. For more than 400 publications with at least one outdated name, this routine produces a list of invalid names together with the page number where the name is used and provides the current allocation to a higher taxon, senior synonym, correct spelling or proper identification.

[Note that in a few cases, references that do not include species names, e.g., oceanographic atlases, or similar contributions with information relevant to one or several fish species, are linked to these species. Also, sometimes only a common name is mention, which however allows to assign a correct scientific name].

How to get there

You get to the NOMENCLATURAL CHANGES routine by clicking the References button in the Main Menu.


On the Internet, links to list All species treated and Nomenclatural changes will be added to the ‘Reference Summary’ pages.

Rainer Froese