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How to … Write a protologue for a new species (or infraspecific) name

A protologue is everything associated with a name at its valid publication, e.g. a description, diagnosis, illustrations, references, synonymy, geographical data, citation of specimens, 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 species or infraspecific name must have the following elements:

  1. The new name itself, which should be followed by a designation of its nomenclatural status, e,g, sp. nov., subsp. nov., comb. nov.stat. nov., or nom. nov. (see How to indicate the nomenclatural status of a new name).

  2. For the name of a new taxon, the word “holotypus” or “typus”, or its abbreviation (e.g. "holo."), or its equivalent in a modern language (e.g. "holotipo", "holotype", "tipo", "type"), followed by

    1. an unambiguous designation of the holotype specimen (see How to choose a type specimen for a name of a new species and How to cite a specimen), followed by

    2. specification of the single herbarium or collection or institution in which the holotype specimen is conserved (see How to cite a herbarium), and

    3. if the type is a culture, a statement that it is preserved in a metabolically inactive state.

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

  4. For a new combination, name at new rank, or replacement name, a full and direct reference to the basionym or replaced synonym, including author and 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).

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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