Originally Posted by DKRST
Thanks Byron, I had assumed the C and L numbers were for varieties since folks use them so commonly and for so long a time period. Thanks for clearing that up. I'm familiar with the official scientific naming process for organisms. So in terms of using the L numbers for fish such as the Bristllenose plecostomus (general term for a bunch of species) , I'm assuming that's now in error? Are we actually discovering that many new ones still? Has the species nomenclature not been decided? Everything I seem to find indicates the numbering system is still in wide use, but I didn't realize the process took that long to initially name a species. I'm very familiar with the almost continual refinement/re-classification of named species as we learn more, but surely we have more Ancistrus species names assigned and should start replacing the numbers with species epithets?
As I said, the "L" numbers are being retained even after naming, and they apply to all known species. For example, Hypancistrus furunculus is still properly referred to in the literature as: Hypancistrus furunculus
L199 ARMBRUSTER, LUJAN & TAPHORN 2007.
The so-called "Bristlenose Pleco" is an unknown species, which is why in the profiles the scientific name is Ancistrus sp. We simply do not know which species it may be; at present, there are 144 different species in Ancistrus, all of which are "bristlenose" plecs. Of these, 76 have not yet been described. And of these 76, 20 have been given "common" names that are mainly the stream or river of origin, while 56 have just an "L" number to identify them. In the end, many years from now, it may turn out that these are all distinct species, or some may be variants and thus the same species, or even subspecies.
I usually post a link to articles on fish descriptions when I come across them, just for information. A couple of weeks back I posted one on some species of pleco that have been in the hobby for a while but are now finally described and named. Only last week, I posted an article by Heiko Bleher in which he lists 3 or 4 supposedly-new cory species he found in Colombia. As his common names show, they are remarkably similar to known species; the astounding array of allopatric cory species is indeed amazing.
Ten years ago, there were about 100 known cory species. Now there are over 200, and more are being discovered every month, as Heiko's article shows. It takes ichthyologists a long time to sort through all these. Not to mention all the other catfish. Then there are the unknown/undiscovered characins, probably in the hundreds as well. As explorers and collectors enter into previously-unexplored areas in Amazonia, the species count continues to rise.