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How to … Write a protologue for a new generic name

A protologue is everything associated with a name at its valid publication, e.g. a description, diagnosis, illustrations, references, synonymy, geographical data, discussion, comments, etc.

A protologue may be a whole paper (where the paper deals with only one taxon) or a part of a (multi-taxon) paper. In modern practice, a protologue is usually a taxonomic entry in a taxonomy section of a paper.


A protologue of a generic name must have the following elements:

  1. The new name itself, which should be followed by a designation of its nomenclatural status, e.g. gen. nov. (if the genus is new), or stat. nov. (if a previously published name of a subgenus, section, etc. is being raised to generic rank), or nom. nov. (if the generic name is a replacement name; see How to indicate the nomenclatural status of a new name).

  2. For the name of a new genus, the word “typus”, or its abbreviation (e.g. "typ."), or its equivalent in a modern language (e.g. "tipo", "type"), followed by a validly published species name, the type of which is the also type of the new generic name (see How to choose a type for a name of a new genus).

  3. For the name of a new genus, a description and/or a diagnosis; note that at least one of these must be in either English or Latin.

  4. For a name at new rank or a replacement name, a full and direct reference to the basionym or replaced synonym, including author, place and year of publication (see How to fully and directly cite a name).

  5. For a fungal name (including fossil fungi), the identifier issued for the name by a recognized repository must be cited in the protologue (Art. F.5).

Note that if your genus is entirely new (rather than being a stat. nov. or a nom. nov.), at least one species name should be simultaneously published in the new genus. This could be either the name of a new species or a new combination based on a previously published name. See How to name a new species.

For more information, see Chapter 5 How to publish a new name in The Code Decoded.

Do you have another general nomenclatural question, and want a how-to guide to help?

You can submit questions here.

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