The Catalog of Fishes is the authoritative reference for taxonomic fish names, featuring a searchable on-line database.
Catalog of Fishes - version of 30 April 2013 (Continuously updated since the early 1980s.)
Citing the Catalog of Fishes
Eschmeyer, W. N. (ed). Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013. [This version was edited by Bill Eschmeyer.]
Fricke, R. (ed). Catalog of Fishes. Literature. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/fishcatmain.asp). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013. [Ron Fricke devoted much time to improving references and journals, many of which had not been examined in 15 to 25 years. Please remember that the title of a paper often differs in three places: the title on the paper itself, the contents listed by the journal, and in the PDF provided by the journal. Ron tends to follow the title on the pdf for recent papers and the title on the original for earlier publications. Many of our dates of publication are documented for priority purposes. Some current journals have a target date, but actual publication is often delayed. For nomenclatual date problems, we will help if we can.]
van der Laan, R., Fricke, R. and W. N. Eschmeyer. Family-Group Names. (http://research.calacademy.org/ichthyology/catalog/family/). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013.
Fricke, R. & Eschmeyer, W. N. Journals. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/journals.asp). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013. [Includes all journals appearing in the Catalog, including publication information and ISSN numbers.]
Fricke, R. & Eschmeyer, W. N. Guide to Fish Collections. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/collections.asp). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013. [Arranged by museum abbreviation and by country, includes type catalogs and historical publications and www sites where available.]
Eschmeyer, W. N. & Fong, J. D. Species by Family/Subfamily. (http://research.calacademy.org/research/ichthyology/catalog/SpeciesByFamily.asp). Electronic version accessed dd mmm 2013. [Recalculated with each new version; based on current literature, this provides all available species names, valid species, and species described in the last 10 years by family/subfamily.]
Other participants are Dennis Polack (Data Analyst), Nicolas Bailly (Data Analyst), Richard van der Laan (freshwater fishes), and Thomas Litz (Aquarium Species/Literature Specialist). Jon Fong prepares the online versions and does other programming tasks.
Please remember that if you got to the Catalog of Fishes from Fishbase, you are NOT in Fishbase. Fishbase is a more comprehensive database for a different audience, but they use Catalog of Fishes information in their authority file.
Some other useful sites for fishes are (1) Fishbase [Fishbase team, Manila]; (2) www.stri.org/sftep -- A comprehensive database on Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific [Ross Robertson]; (3) shark-references.com -- A database on elasmobranchs, with over 13,000 references, information on taxa, type specimens, etc. [Jürgen Pollerspöck]; (4) FishWisePro.com -- a comprehensive relational database of more than 99,350 scientific species name combinations and over 34,300 well-identified (mostly marine) fish pictures [Dennis Polack]; (5) Freshwater Fish List, 8th edition 2012 [via google]. A very useful site is Worldfish.de [not associated with Fishbase or Worldfish]. Maintained by Michal Mikšik and Erwin Schraml. They post new fish taxa and references as they are published.
A summary paper was published in 2010 from the Catalog of Fishes database that might be of interest to users of the Catalog. "Marine fish diversity: history of knowledge and discovery (Pisces)." By William N. Eschmeyer, Ronald Fricke, Jon D. Fong & Dennis A. Polack. Zootaxa, no. 2525:19-50 (2 July 2010, open access, click title to download).
Only about 97 new species have been described in 2013. As always, notifying us of missed original descriptions and errors in the database or providing PDFs of recent papers is most welcome.
Bill Eschmeyer edited type localities and standardized many place names. Our style is to use current place names found on an English map (or from Wikipedia and Google sites). Should you need original localities, they can be found in the original descriptions or from particular museum holdings (often online).
Many scientific names of fish species are based on personal names; some were found to be incorrect. For example, Jordan and co-workers spelled Japanese names ending in "a" with a terminal "e" as in matsubarae; that is acceptable, with the name Latinized first. So those names do not end in "i". Remarks are provided by Eschmeyer in this version for most species based on personal names. For a review of this very technical subject, see Dubois 2007: Zootaxa No. 1550:49-68.
New treatment of synonyms: Often an author revises a genus and treats a species in detail but does not mention the species synonyms (if any). If he/she does not mention the synonyms (rather common in recent treatments) and moves the valid “parent” species to a different genus, do we move the synonyms automatically, although the revising author may not have studied or assessed the synonyms? In the past, we did not move the synonyms. Typically, this often resulted in the synonyms being in a different current genus than the valid parent species. We now move the synonyms to the genus of the valid parent species, but no “status reference” showing the new generic placement is found with the synonym. Some synonyms will be moved incorrectly, but it is considered more desirable to have the potential synonyms in the same current genus as the valid parent species.
Some conventions used in the Catalog
Author plus date and a species code: The code of Zoological Nomenclature does not require a comma between the author and date, only a suggestion. In fact, we consider that confusing as that is traditionally used to show a cited reference in journal publications and not a species authorship and date. Genus+species+author+date (with parentheses as needed) is a (nearly) unique code or formula to define every species [2 known exceptions]. So you will find no comma between the author and date. Some journals are now treating species in this way.
Figures: Under a new species heading, some journals list (a) only the major figure, some list (b) all figures (including maps, habitats and graphs), and (c) some give figures showing the full view and any illustrated parts of the species. We give all figures that show a full view and any anatomical part of the species, so our listing of figures often differs from the treatment by a journal in the original description (as listed in the species heading).
Type localities: We give a current place name that one will find on a Google search or in an ‘English’ atlas. For some species described many years ago, one may find both the original locality and in parentheses a modern name for that locality. Many collections now have their holdings on-line, and it is there one can usually find the actual original locality if needed. Current localities are often augmented by additional information, such as coordinates.
Authors: We have added initials in brackets to distinguish all individual authors of genera and species.
Species of Fishes by Family/Subfamily -- Total valid taxa reflect new taxa added minus taxa moved into synonymy plus taxa newly moved to valid. The classification is as used in the Catalog of Fishes. Prepared by Bill Eschmeyer and Jon Fong.
Family-Group Names -- Priority applies to Family-group names. It did not in early years. As classifications are refined with use of more subfamilies and tribes, it is required to use the oldest available family-group name for these new taxa. Early authors did not provide authorships and dates for families, and it is very difficult to find them. A third preliminary list of available family-group names of fishes is included in this version. Prepared by Richard van der Laan, Ron Fricke, and Bill Eschmeyer.
Ichthyological Collections -- Presented are those specimen collections mentioned in the main Catalog of Fishes database, especially as repositories of type specimens. Besides museum names and abbreviations, this includes WWW sites, cross-referencing of abbreviations, and selection of museums by country, along with type catalogs, historical articles, name changes, transfers, and other items for individual collections. Prepared by Ron Fricke and Bill Eschmeyer.
Ichthyological Journals -- There are nearly 2600 individual journals or monograph series in the Catalog of Fishes database. We provide full citations, and other information such as changes in titles, published duration, ISSN numbers, WWW sites, etc. Prepared by Ron Fricke and Bill Eschmeyer.
Thanks to Nicolas Bailly (Fishbase) and Dennis Pollack for continuing to find errors, discrepancies, and inconsistencies, to Thomas Litz for work with aquarium literature, and to Michal Miksic who continues to find and forward publications. Thanks for help with this version to Christopher Scharpf. Jon Fong prepared the new version for www presentation.
Persons assisting in 2013: Arturo Acero, Gerald Allen, Nicolas Bailly, Carole Baldwin, Andred Balonic, Ricardo Betancur, Roger Bills, Paulo Buckup, Noel Burkhead, Rudolf Caers, Emily Capuli, Kent Carpenter, Fernando Carvalho, Dave Catania, Bruce Collette, Kevin Conway, Yu Dydyldin, Dave Ebert, Sergei Evseenko, Carl Ferraris, Jose de Lima Figueiredo, Matt Ford, Tom Fraser, John Friel, Dick Glodinski, Daniel Golani, Steve Grant, Jessica Grosso, Karsten Hartel, Phil Hastings, Malorie Hayes, Elaine Heemstra, Kai Heller, Hans Ho, Wouter Holleman, Mysi Hoang, Doug Hoese, Wouter Holleman, Jean Huber, Jean-Claude Hureau, Leonardo Ingenito, Laith Jawad, Jean-Lou Justine, Heller Kei, Seishi Kimura, Keita Koeda, Steven Koerber, Maurice Kottelat, Marcelo Kovicic, Robert Lea, Thomas Litz, Sherwyn Mack, James Maclaine, Maniola Marinthe, Fernando Martins, Richard Mayden, John McCosker, George Mattox, Catherine Mecklenburg, Michael Mincarone, Hiroyuki Motomura, Rekha Nair, Tetsuji Nakabo, Dirk Nolf, Chiraher Nonpayon, Makoto Okamura, Alex Orlov, Guillermo Orti, Larry Page, Mats Petersson, Gianluca Polgar, Graham Proudlove, Rajeev Raghavan, John Randall, Zachary Randall, Tony Rees, Adela Roa-Varon, Ross Robertson, Rob Robins, Christopher Scharpf, Ingo Schindler, Erwin Schraml, Bernard Séret, Richard Sexton, Bill Smith-Vaniz, Hank Stam, Mathias Stehmann, John Sullivan, James van Tassell, Armi Torres, Molly Vergaese, Simon Weighman, Mark Westneat, Dan White, William White, Peter Wirtz, Richard van der Laan, Benjamin Victor, Dan Zimberlin. Thanks to others we may have missed, including those mentioned elsewhere.
California Academy of Sciences