The Key to Scientific Names

Symbols, standard abbreviations, and short glossary

(including abbreviations and notations frequently used by earlier authors)

Ϯ Type species    (1) Type species of header genus (symbol follows family name and precedes substantive and scientific names, e.g. Aceros (Bucerotidae; Ϯ Rufous-necked Hornbill A. nipalensis). Current subspecific taxa and synonyma are included here without further identification (see below under (2)).

(2) Type species of synonymised header genus (symbol follows current genus and precedes substantive and current scientific name, e.g. Abalius (syn. Thamnophilus Ϯ Black-hooded Antshrike T. bridgesi) (i.e. Thamnophilus bridgesi is the type of Abalius not of Thamnophilus. However, the two genera shown can have the same type. The family name is omitted, but may be found under the current genus name in the Key. Current subspecific taxa and synonyma are included here without further comment (e.g. under Rectirostrum (syn. Macrosphenus Ϯ Yellow Longbill M. flavicans hypochondriacus), the original type species of Rectirostrum is hypochondriacus, currently treated as a subspecies of flavicans).

Extinct genus
! exclamation! Formerly used by purist authors as a mark of reproach and astonishment at a barbarous name (i.e. not classical) which they considered had to be replaced
? doubtful, unidentifiable, tentative
text omitted from original quotation
[ ] square brackets enclose present author’s clarification or correction (NB. some authors use square brackets in their writings (e.g. Vieillot 1816; Heine & Reichenow 1890))
juvenile, immature, non-adult
= equals, modern equivalent, is
± plus or minus, more or less, or thereabouts
< derived from, from
& and
&c. etcetera, and the like (Latin et cetera)
adj. adjective, adjectival
Adm. Admiral
AMNH American Museum of Natural History, New York
anon. anonymous author, undiscovered author
AOU American Ornithologists’ Union
apud in the works of, in the sense of (Latin apud among, with)
auct. of (other / subsequent) authors (Latin auctorum) (i.e. name not used in the designated or restricted sense of the original author)
b. born
BHL Biodiversity Heritage Library (on-line service)
bk. book
bl. remains, stays (i.e. valid) (German bleibt < bleiben to stay)
BM British Museum, London
BMNH British Museum (Natural History), London
BOC British Ornithologists’ Club
Bot. / bot. botanical, botany
BOU British Ornithologists’ Union
Br. Brother in Holy Orders
Brig. Brigadier
Bt. Baronet (often also abbreviated to Bart.)
Bull. Bulletin
c. about, approximately (Latin circa)
Capt. Captain
cf. compare, consult (Latin confer)
cl. class, section
Col. Colonel
coll. collector, collected by
comm. communicated in personal conversation (Latin communicavit he communicated)
comp. comparative degree or form of (e.g. greater) (cf. in comp.)
Comte Count (fem. Comtesse) (French)
Conde Count (fem. Condesa) (Spanish)
Conte Count (fem. Contessa) (Italian)
cotype term formerly used for either syntype or paratype
d. died
dim. diminutive degree or form (e.g. least)
do. ditto, the same, repeated, the said (Italian detto said < Latin dicere to say)
Dr Doctor
e.g. example (Latin exempli gratia)
ed. / éd. editor, editors, edition / éditeur, éditeurs, édition (French)
et al. and others (Latin et alii) (used of three or more authors)
etc. etcetera, and the like (Latin et cetera)
ex based on, based mainly on, derived from, according to (Latin)
F. feminine gender
fasc. fascicle, part, number (Latin fasciculus little bundle, packet)
fide according to (Latin fides reliance)
fig. figure, illustration (Latin figura)
figs. figures, illustrations
fl. flourished, lived (Latin floruit)
Fr. Father in Holy Orders
Freiherr Baron (fem. Baronin) (German)
Gen. General
genotype term formerly used for type species
Gov. Governor
Gr. Greek (ancient and classical; approx. 1000 BC to 300 BC)
Graf Count (fem. Gräfin) (German)
Hab. Habitat (earlier equivalent of Type Locality) (Latin habitat it inhabits)
Herzog Duke (fem. Herzogin) (German)
holotype single specimen originally designated as name-bearing type
I. Island
ib. / ibid. in the same place (Latin ibidem)
ic. image, figure, painting (Latin icon, iconis < Gr. εικων eik?n)
id. the same (Latin idem)
ICZN International Code of Zoological Nomenclature
i.e. that is (Latin id est)
incl. includes, including, inclusive
in comp. in composition (cf. comp.)
in litt. in correspondence (includes e-mails and on-line forums), by personal correspondence (Latin in litteris)
Is. Islands
Journ. Journal
Jr. Junior
L. Latin (classical; approx. 200 BC to AD 200)
Late L. Late Latin (approx. AD 200 to AD 600)
Late Med. L. Late Mediaeval Latin (approx. AD 1500 to AD 1600)
lectotype single syntype subsequently designated as the name-bearing type
Leg. / leg. collector, collected by (L. legulus collector, gatherer < legere to collect) (this abbreviation was formerly much used, but is now mainly seen in lists of type specimens)
livr. livraison, livre, part, number
Lt. Lieutenant
M. masculine gender
Maj. Major
MCZ Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Med. L. Mediaeval Latin (approx. AD 600 to AD 1500)
Mid. French Middle French (approx. 1350 – 1610)
mihi to me, mine (Latin ego I) (in older texts describing new forms often abbreviated to “m.”)
Mod. L. Modern Latin (approx. AD 1600 to the present)
monotypy In citations where no type species is originally designated, the subsequent identification of a type species by reason of its being the only species mentioned in the new genus (or considered so by the original author).
MS / ms manuscript (Latin manuscriptum)
MSS / mss manuscripts
Mt. Mount, Mountain
Mts. Mountains
Mus. Museum
myth. mythology, mythological, mythical
N. neuter gender
nec and not (of), nor (of) (Latin)
no. number, part (Latin numero)
nobis to us, ours (Latin ego I) (in older texts describing new forms often abbreviated to “n.” or to “nob.”)
No expl. No explanation or etymology given in the original citation/description
non not (of) (Latin)
nos. numbers, parts
OD original description or diagnosis
Old French Old French (approx. 850 – 1350)
olim formerly, at times (Latin)
orn. ornithology, ornithological
p. page number (abbreviation often not given for serial works, e.g. 2: 12, or 2, 12 = vol. 2, p. 12) (Latin pagina)
pace with due respect to, despite another opinion (Latin pace tua by your leave)
per through, by (L.)
Père Father in Holy Orders (French)
pl. plate number
pll. plate numbers
pp page numbers (abbreviation often not given for serial works, e.g. 2: 12-15, or 2, 12-15 = vol. 2, pp. 12-15)
pref. prefix
Principe Prince (fem. Principessa) (Italian)
Príncipe Prince (fem. Princeza) (Spanish / Portuguese)
Prinz Prince (fem. Prinzessin) (German)
Prof. Professor
pt. part, partly, for the most part
pull. pullus, chick, young (Latin pullus, from the root of puer child)
quasi-syn. Quasi-synonym, ghost-synonym. This is a new coinage for the purposes of The Key, being the insertion and diagnosis of a junior generic homonym that distinguishes a different type-species to that fixed in the senior homonym (see e.g. Calyptorhynchus, Euphonia).
q.v. which see (Latin quod vide)
RAOU Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union / Birds Australia
recte rightly, properly, correctly (L. < regere to guide)
ref. reference, with reference to, refers to
rev. revised (edition)
Revd. Reverend
s. Former abbreviation for seu and sive.
sect. section, class
sens. lat. in the broad or widest sense (sometimes abbreviated to “s. l.”) (Latin sensu lato)
sens. str. in the strict or narrowest sense (sometimes abbreviated to “s. s.”) (Latin sensu stricto)
ser. / sér. series / séries (French)
seu or (Latin) (in older texts often abbreviated to “s.”)
sic thus, so (Latin) (to call attention to an original spelling or error)
sive or (Latin) (in older texts often abbreviated to “s.”)
sk. skin
sp. species (singular)
spp. species (plural)
Sr. Senior
sub nom. under the (generic / specific) name of (Latin sub nomine)
subsp. subspecies (singular), subspecies of (singular), race, race of
subspp. subspecies (plural), subspecies of (plural), races, races of
suff. suffix
super. superlative degree or form (e.g. greatest)
Suppl. / suppl. supplement (Latin supplementum completion, reinforcements)
suppr. name/combination officially suppressed or rejected or invalidated
syn. synonym of, synonymous with (Latin synonymum). In the text synonym is used in the very broadest sense, referring not only to true synonyms but also to variants, original spellings, corrected spellings, purist amendments, lapses, hybrids, misspellings, errors, unidentifiable names, suppressed and rejected names, nomina oblita and nomina nuda
Synon. Synonym / synonyma of currently recognised genus listed and explained elsewhere in the Key. Note that synonymous genera do not necessarily have the same type species as the current ‘parent’ genus. The names are listed alphabetically, not in order of priority, so may be used for cross-reference purposes and perhaps provide further etymons or insights.
syntype each specimen of a type series; in the absence of a holotypic designation any specimen from the original type series may be subsequently selected as a lectotype (the specimens remaining are known as paratypes)
tab. plate (Latin tabula) (in older texts often abbreviated to “t.”)
tautonymy In citations where no type species is originally designated, the subsequent identification of a type species by reason of the existence of a specific, synonymous, or substantive name of the same spelling quoted by the author. A name with almost the same spelling is referred to as virtual tautonymy.
Th. Thence, from
TL Type locality (Habitat (abbreviation: Hab.) in earlier works)
topotype term for a specimen collected from the original type locality
u.s.w. etcetera, etc. (German und so weiter)
unident. unidentifiable, unidentified, indeterminable.
v. 1. see (Latin vide)   2. or (Latin vel)
vel or, rather (Latin < velle to wish)
vix only just, scarcely (Latin vis quantity, influence, nature)
vol. volume, book, livre (in catalogues, bibliographies and reference lists the volume number is often emboldened without abbreviation, e.g. 4 or IV = vol. 4 or vol. IV)
x hybrid form, hybrid between, crossed with, hybridised with (of hybrid forms)
z.b. / z.B. for example, e.g. (German zum Beispiel)
Zool. / zool. zoological, zoology