The Catalog of Fishes is the authoritative reference for taxonomic fish names, featuring a searchable on-line database.
Searching for Species
Information for the approximately 55,000 species or subspecies of fishes is arranged in paragraphs (one for each species). Some entries have remarks on types, nomenclature, etc., but a typical entry is:
audax, Acentrogobius Smith 1959:201, Fig. 17 [Ichthyol. Bull. J. L. B. Smith Inst. Ichthyol. No. 13; ref. 4122]. Ibo I., Mozambique. Holotype (unique): RUSI 192. Valid (Prince Akihito in Masuda et al. 1984:249 [ref. 6441], Hoese 1986:777 [ref. 5670]). Gobiidae.
The order of presentation is species or subspecies name, original genus, author, date, page and figures, a short-version citation and the reference number, the type locality, the location of type specimens, the current status of the species, and the family/subfamily in which the species is now placed.
Searches will result in the assembly of those species that meet the search criteria. A search term may consist of a word, a phrase enclosed in double quotes, a partial word or phrase (enclosed in double quotes and ending with an asterisk), or a combination of search terms joined together with boolean (logical) operators. (See examples at the bottom of the search page.)
The displayed results will contain diacritic marks, bold and italics, and hyperlinks. The text actually being searched, however, is just plain and simple text, so it is not necessary to use diacritics in search strings; i.e., enter [ Gunther ], rather than [ Günther ] or [ Guenther ]. The degree sign [°] for latitude and longitude has been replaced with "deg" in the plain text substrate, but retrieving records by latitude-longitude is relatively difficult (see below).
Searches can be made for individual species, but remember that some names, such as marmoratus occur hundreds of times. Searches can combine words, so if you know the species name and the family, search on both. All the species in one family may be retrieved by entering the family name. Boolean operators [ and | or | and not ] may be used to restrict searches, e.g., if you wanted only valid species in the family Apogonidae, type [ valid and apogonidae ] (but remember status of many species has not been completed). It is also possible to assemble the species with a type locality in a certain geographic area, for example, one could generate a file of all the species with a type locality in Chile or Brazil — the resulting list may be somewhat incomplete, but we have tried to enter country in the records where possible (especially for freshwater localities). The "wild card" character [ * ], but only as the last character of a word or phrase, and always with the word or phrase enclosed in double quotes. (The wildcard is interpreted as 1 or more characters, not zero or more — e.g., [ "Hawaii*" ] will match "Hawaiian", but not "Hawaii" itself; use [ "Hawai*" ] instead.) Wildcard searches may be useful when you do not know the ending of a species name, such as for zonata, zonatum or zonatus, just type [ "zonat*" ] and you will obtain all records of zonata, zonatum or zonatus.
¹ To retrieve records containing the longitude [135°22.5'E] for example, you would enter [ "135deg22.5''E*" ]. The following points are critical:
- enclose the entire string in double quotes;
- replace the degree symbol with the three letters "deg" (no spaces);
- enter two single quote characters in place of the one used to denote minutes (not a double quote).
Searching for Genera
Entries for the approximately 10,300 genera and subgenera of fishes can be retrieved via a search form:
- select the radio button for "Genera",
- enter a search expression, and
- press the "Submit" button.
Each database entry contains the genus or subgenus name, author, date, page and figures, a short-version citation and the reference number, gender, type species, author, date, method of designation of the type species, sources for status of the taxon, and the family/subfamily in which the genus is assigned. A typical entry is:
Galaxiella McDowall 1978:116 [J. R. Soc. N. Z. v. 8 (no. 1); ref. 2951]. Fem. Galaxias pusillus Mack 1936. Type by original designation. Valid (McDowall & Frankenberg 1981:552 [ref. 5500]........). Galaxiidae: Galaxiinae.
The displayed results will contain diacritic marks, bold and italic type faces, and hyperlinks. The text actually being searched, however, is just plain and simple text, so it is not necessary to use diacritics in search strings; i.e., enter [ Gunther ], rather than [ Günther ] or [ Guenther ].
Searches can be made for individual names, and searches can combine words, so if you know the genus name and the family, search on both. All the genera/subgenera in one family may be searched for by entering the family. To search on more than a single term, you must interpolate one of the three boolean operators: [ and | or | and not ] between words or quoted phrases. If you wanted only valid genera in the family Apogonidae, for example, type [ valid and apogonidae ] (but remember status of some names has not been completed).
The "wildcard" character [ * ] can be used, but only as the last character of a word or phrase, and always with the word or phrase enclosed in double quotes. (The wildcard is interpreted as 1 or more characters, not zero or more.)
Searching for References
The Reference database consists primarily of references containing original descriptions (of genera, subgenera, species, and subspecies), and those used to document status of taxa.
Search results now contain diacritic marks, as well as bold and italic type faces. The text you are searching, however, is plain and simple; i.e., any character with an accent or diacritic mark was replaced with an un-decorated, single-character, equivalent. Thus, u-umlaut (ü) was replaced with a "u" alone (search for Gunther, not Guenther).
Searches can be made with a single word, a phrase in double quotes, or by joining multiple search terms (either a word or quoted phrase) with one of the three boolean (logical) operators "and", "or", and "and not". An asterisk (*) can be used at the end of a partial word or phase as a "wildcard", and will match any combination of 1 or more characters. (Always enclose a search term with a wildcard in double quotes – even if the term consists of a single word.)
We believe three searches will be typical:
- key word searches of titles, e.g. for a family, genus, locality, etc. If you search on "cuba" you will obtain a listing of all references that mention Cuba in their title.
- searches for an individual reference number, although this is somewhat obviated by the fact that all reference numbers in the species and genera databases are now returned as hyperlinks to the appropriate reference entry.
- searches by authors' names.
Because all references have a unique reference number, and because this number is present in all relevant species and genera entries, you can retrieve relevant name records by reference number. If you wanted to see all species entries linked to reference "1234", for example, you would enter:
[ "ref. 1234" ]
to search the species database. IMPORTANT: be sure to include "ref-dot-space" in front of the reference number, and to enclose the phrase in quotes. If you issued a search using the reference number alone (e.g., "22"), you would retrieve all entries in the database containing the string "22" (including those where "22" appears in a page number, catalog number, date, etc.). If your search returns zero results, and your are sure you have typed the number correctly (better to cut and paste long numbers), try searching the other database.
This series serves to provide the most up-to-date taxonomic treatment of the families of recent fishes.
The Department of Ichthyology is home to one of the largest and most important collections of fishes in the world, and is designated as one of eight International Centers for Ichthyology in North America. Meet the researchers, explore projects and expeditions, and more.