Author (biology)

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In biology, the Author of the scientific name of a taxon is the person or team who first makes the name available by using it in a scientific publication with a description of the taxon to which it applies.

Contents

Zoology

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature recognises three groups of taxa for which names can be authored:

  • the Family Group, covering taxa at the ranks of superfamily, family, subfamily, tribe, subtribe, and any other rank below superfamily and above genus
  • the Genus Group encompasses all taxa at the ranks of genus and subgenus.
  • the Species Group encompasses all taxa at the ranks of species and subspecies.

Within each group, the same authorship applies regardless of the taxon level to which the name (with, in the case of the Family Group, the appropriate variable ending) is applied. In strict taxonomical works the author and the date of publication will be appended to the taxon name to ensure clarity of the sense in which a taxon name is being used.

Example

(Red admiral butterfly):

  • Family: Nymphalidae Swainson, 1827 (so also subfamily: Nymphalinae Swainson, 1827, tribe Nymphalini Swainson, 1827)
  • Genus: Vanessa Fabricius, 1807
  • Species: Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758)

The use of brackets around the authorship of a species name indicates that the author made the specific name available but considered it part of a different genus (in this case, Linnaeus classified it as Papilio atalanta).

Botany

The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature does not use level groups. Names at every level can have distinct authorship. This extends up to class (or even to division), and down to variety, form and subform.

Example

(Damask rose):

  • Division Magnoliophyta Cronquist, Takht. & Zimmerm. (1966)
  • Subdivision Magnoliophytina Frohne & U. Jensen ex Reveal (1996)
  • Class Magnoliopsida Adolphe Theodore Brongniart (1843)
  • Subclass Rosidae Takht. (1967)
  • Superorder Rosanae Takht. (1967)
  • Order Rosales Perleb (1826)
  • Suborder Rosineae Rchb. (1841)
  • Family Rosaceae Adans. (1763)
  • Subfam. Rosoideae Arn. (1832)
  • Tribe Roseae Lam. & DC. (1806)
  • Subtribe Rosinae J. Presl. (1846)
  • Genus: Rosa L. (1753)
  • Species Rosa damascena Miller (1804)
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