Taxonomic Guide for Authors

Guidelines for Papers Proposing Taxonomic Changes and Nomenclatural Acts for Marine Mammals

All zoological nomenclatural acts are regulated by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature, the Commission that serves as the Authority on the correct use of scientific names ( Any papers that propose new names for subspecies, species, and other ranks or propose other nomenclatural changes must follow the rules described in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Appendices to the Code also provide general recommendations and a Code of Ethics that should be consulted when proposing new taxa.

The ICZN rules require that all new taxon descriptions as well as other nomenclatural proposals be published to provide a permanent scientific record and associated date of publication. In addition, once a taxonomic description is published no changes can be made without publishing an erratum clearly detailing the changes.

A description of a new taxon or resurrection of a previously used taxonomy must contain the information following these headers:

New name (required). Scientific name and using the appropriate Latin grammar. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature provides some information on Latin naming conventions and requirements.

Etymology (required)

Synonymy (if any)

Common name (recommended). We encourage authors to provide an appropriate common name in descriptions of new subspecies and species.

Holotype (required). A preserved holotype specimen or type series must be deposited at an institution. The institution’s accession number for the specimen, the name and location of the institution, date of collection, and collector (if known) must be provided. For marine mammals, the most common form of a type specimen is a preserved skull.  DNA sequence data associated with a holotype should be submitted to GenBank and accession numbers provided in this section.

Type Locality (required). This should be provided with as much detail as possible.  Accurate geographic coordinates, when known, are recommended.

Paratypes (if any). Include the same information included for holotype

Horizon and Age (for fossils; required)

Diagnosis (required). A detailing of the features (e.g., morphological, genetic) that allow the taxon to be distinguished from its closest relatives/others it may be confused with.  When genetic data are part of a diagnosis, the genetic data must be submitted to an appropriate public database, e.g., GenBank, and an accession number(s) provided in the Holotype section.

Description (required). A full description of the new taxon. May include information on color, meristics, acoustics, geographic variation.

Comparison to Other Taxa (required).  A description of how the new taxon compares to other and is differentiated from closely related taxa of equivalent rank.

Distribution (required).

Ecology/Habitat (optional).

Review of Relevant Nomenclature (required).

Nomenclatural Statement (required).  Any publication describing a new taxon name must be registered with ZooBank.  A Life Sciences Identifier number (LSID) for the publication must be included.  For resurrection of previously used species or subspecies names, an LSID is not required but is highly recommended.

Remarks (optional).



For a new taxon above the species level:

For a new genus, one would simply list the names of all species to be included, designating one as type species for the genus. Same for a new family: list all the genera to be included, designating one as the type genus. In addition, the etymology, synonymy, range, etc., for the new higher taxon is required. It is not necessary to rehash the localities, specimen numbers, etc. for the included lower taxa.
















Last updated June 2023