Species of Fishes

This part consists of species-group names (species, subspecies, and qualifying variety names and referred to collectively as ‘species’) arranged alphabetically. The following items are provided:

Some original names have to be changed

ORIGINAL GENUS. The genus used by the original author of the new species-group name is given first. If a subgenus was also involved, the subgenus follows the genus in parentheses.

NAME. The species-group name as originally proposed is given next. The original spelling is used except where mandatory changes (based on the Code) are required, such as beginning the name of a species with a lower case letter when it was a capital letter originally, normal removal of hyphens, and providing the required spelling when diacritical marks are removed.

SUBSPECIES AND VARIETIES. When the species-group name was proposed as a subspecies, then the species name follows the original genus. When proposed as a variety or form, the original genus is followed by ‘var.’ or ‘forma’ or other attribute. A species described initially as a variety and also involving use of a subgenus would appear as follows: ‘alba, Scorpaena (Sebastapistes) var.’

AUTHOR. The author of the new name is given next, and the authorship is qualified by ‘in’ statements, such as Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, or ‘ex’ meaning from, such as Lacepède (ex Commerson). The use of these expressions and authorship in general are discussed in Appendix A.

DATE. The year of publication is given (see also discussion on dates of publication in Appendix A of the Catalog).

REFERENCE AND REFERENCE NUMBER. Provided first within brackets is an abbreviated citation to the journal or book in which the original description appeared, and this is followed by the unique reference number, e.g., [Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. v. 43; ref. 1234], which corresponds to a CAS RefNo. the number given in the Literature Cited section (Part V) for the reference containing the original description. For book titles and monographs or other non-journal works, we have coined shortened versions, such as ‘[Fish. Nile; ref. 6510].’

The page where the new taxon is described

PAGE. Usually only one page is cited - the page on which the main descriptive account for the new taxon begins (and not necessarily the page on which the new taxon is first mentioned). When more than one page is given it usually means the new taxon was presented in some detail (such as in a key) in one place and amplified in a second place; usually the secondary treatment is included in parentheses, e.g., (14) 30. Pages in brackets are those assigned in an unpaginated or in a separate work in which pagination differs from that in the original publication, e.g., 456 [25].

FIGURES. Figures accompanying the original description are provided. If a figure is shown on a plate, the plate is given in arabic numbers and the figure is given in parentheses, e.g. Pl. 4 (fig. 2) or Pl. 2 (upper). If a text figure and a plate are involved, the text figure is shown with a capital ‘F’, as in ‘Pl. 4 (fig. 2), Fig. 24.’ If only a text figure is provided, then this is shown with a capital ‘F’, as in ‘Fig. 1.’ We try to limit plates and figures to ones showing specimens or parts of specimens and not, for example, to figures of maps showing distribution.

TYPES. The location of type specimens is given next. An Abbreviations system is used to denote museums containing the type specimens; a list is provided in the FishBase Glossary and MUSEUM table. Information on various kinds of type specimens and how they are established is given in Appendix A of the Catalog. A variety of different numbering systems are used by museums, some with unique numbers, others with numbers preceded by letters, etc. If the specimen(s) was/were first at another museum, then that information is given in brackets - USNM 12345 [ex BPBM 3456].

The single name-bearing type is given first where available, e.g., holotype, lectotype, or neotype. Lectotypes or neotypes require designation (see Appendix A), and this documentation is provided in the account of the species taxon. If no single name-bearing type is provided, then syntypes are listed. Number of specimens in a lot is given in parentheses. If no type specimens are known, this is noted at this point in the account. Question marks are used to indicate doubt as to type status, such as ‘Paratypes: ?USNM 34567 (3).’

A world type catalog of fishes

This is the first attempt at a world type catalog of fishes. We have obtained information on types from several sources. Published collection type catalogs have been consulted, and these are included in the account, such as, "Type catalog: Böhlke 1984:16 [ref. 13621]." Monographic or revisional studies usually involve examination of types, and some status references may include information on types. Sometimes individual articles may deal only with type specimen problems. For a few groups, such as darters, myctophids, and callionymids, there are checklists by families that include information on types. In some cases, we have personally examined type specimens in collections.

Even with these sources, the availability and location of types for many species is uncertain. In some cases, the various sources available to us include more or less specimens than mentioned in the original description; in at least some of these cases we are able to give the original number in parentheses, such as: "Syntypes: (10)..." We provide statements such as "Not found" or "No types known" when that is the best information available to us. In some cases we are able to report the condition of the types, such as dried skin, skeleton, disintegrated, poor condition. The expression ‘c&s’ refers to specimens that have been cleared and stained for anatomical study.

Type locality information is improved

TYPE LOCALITIES. If there is a unique name-bearing type, then the type locality of this primary type is given; when there are, in addition, secondary types, such as paratypes, then no localities are provided for them. If there are only syntypes and more than one locality is involved, a general locality may be given first, and then more specific localities with syntypic lots. Considerable thought was given to whether we should provide the locality as given in the original description, either alone or in addition to a modern locality, and whether we should improve the locality by providing more detail. It was decided to provide a locality one would find in a modern atlas, geographical dictionary, or gazetteer, and to improve that locality to include at least the modern country name, and in some cases a latitude and longitude; occasionally we include the original locality in brackets. For example, the locality may have been ‘Kosseir,’ so we use ‘Al-Quseir [Kosseir], Egypt, Red Sea’ and for Ceylon we use ‘Sri Lanka.’ For some localities it is difficult to be more precise than in the original presentation, such as ‘Carolinas’ to which we add Carolinas, U.S.A. We generally treat localities as specific to general, the latter usually being the country. Vessel station numbers, though not part of a geographic locality as such, are given in some cases, such as for ‘Albatross’ stations, since for many of these collections published station lists are available. We do not give station numbers of individuals, collectors names, dates of collections and other information that is not part of the geographic locality. The depth of capture is given at the end of the locality information (see also the EXPEDITION table, this vol.). Terrestrial collections may have an altitude of capture, and we give this as, for example, "... elev. 3460 m." As collections worldwide become computerized, the specialists will be able to obtain or refer to more detailed information relating to types directly from on-line databases for specific museums. It was our aim to record the types and the museums holding them to assist the specialists in obtaining type specimens for study.

TEXT REMARKS. A variety of remarks may follow the information on types and type localities, and these generally are presented in a standard order.

a. ALTERNATE PAGES AND PUBLICATIONS. When the original description appeared in a separate (offprint, reprint) with different pagination, then this information is given first, such as "Appeared on p. 4 of separate." When the taxon was published at about the same time in another article, this information is provided, and it usually takes the form of, "Also appeared as new in ....."

b. ORIGINAL OR MULTIPLE SPELLINGS. When the taxon was spelled in a way that requires a mandatory correction, the original incorrect original spelling may be provided, such as "Spelled albo-marginatus originally." When the original genus was misspelled this is noted. When the taxon was spelled two or more ways in the original description, this is discussed- sometimes one spelling is regarded as typographical error and in some cases a first reviser is needed.

Over 500 new species were described with an existing name

c. PREOCCUPIED NAMES/REPLACEMENT NAMES. Primary and secondary homonyms are mentioned, such as for Dentex rivulatus Rüppell 1838 is found, "Preoccupied by Dentex rivulatus Bennett 1838, replaced by Gymnocranius ruppellii Smith 1941." [Over 500 primary homonyms are known in fishes.]

d. EMENDATIONS. Misspellings and other emendations are provided.

e. OTHER REMARKS. When subsequent type designations are needed, such as for lectotypes or neotypes, this information is given. Actions by the International Commission may be mentioned. Misspellings, when considered significant, and unjustified emendations are also included.

An unavailable name is not really a synonym

f. STATUS. The status of each nominal species or subspecies is given next. We have limited this to the status of the name at the species level. For example, a name originally proposed as a subspecies may be shown as valid (as a species), or it may be shown as a synonym of another species; its status as a subspecies is sometimes given when it is valid, "Synonym of .... but as a valid subspecies (Jones 1984 [ref. 12345])." There are several conditions in which a name may be valid- for example, an original species name may be valid exactly as proposed (same genus and species spelling) in which case we record the name as ‘Valid.’ The species name may be valid but be placed in a genus other than the original one in which it was proposed, and in these cases we give the current genus, such as "Valid as Serranus guttatus." Sometimes the name (for example when an adjective) needs to have its ending modified to agree in gender with the genus, so that the original proposal may have been marmorata if it originally was in a feminine genus, but becomes marmoratus when placed in a masculine genus. When the name is a synonym, we give the author and date for the valid name; if it is a synonym of a genus and species as originally proposed then the author and date of the valid name are not in parentheses - "Synonym of Melanocetus murrayi Günther 1887." If the name treated is a synonym of a species that is now placed in a genus different from the one in which it was proposed, then the author and date are in parentheses - "Synonym of Scyliorhinus stellaris (Linnaeus 1758)." If a name is not an available name, we use the convention, "In the synonymy of...," since an unavailable name is not really a synonym of an available name. The status reference is given next in parentheses, and all status references include a reference number; typically this includes the author, date, page and reference number, but the page is often omitted if the entire article deals with only that taxon. When a page is given, it refers to one pertinent page in which the status of the taxon is discussed. Typically only publications since 1980 are used for status, although some earlier monographs have been included. [The selection of status references was not systematically organized, and it should be pointed out that thousands of other status references would have been available if time permitted.]

FAMILY/SUBFAMILY. Each account provides the family and subfamily (if used) in which the nominal species has been placed (see Part III). Some species or subspecies may be classified only to class, order or suborder.

How to get there

You get to the Eschmeyer’s SPECIES table by clicking on the Eschmeyer’s SPECIES button in the SEARCH SPECIES BY ….. window, or by double-clicking on the specific epithet in the SPECIES or the SYNONYMS window. The internal name of this table is PISCES.


On the Internet version of FishBase, you get to the November 2000 version of the database behind the Catalog by selecting the Eschmeyer (Species) radio button when you search for a scientific name, or by clicking on the specific name in the ‘Species Summary’ page. You can also search the Catalog databases at www.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology.


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

William N. Eschmeyer