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Who determines classification species genus - process?
What is the process and who is responsible for determing family genus classifications for fish?
I've seen where fish genus are changed based on newly discovered differences in the fish and a new genus assigned.
So who is it that determines the classifications?
I do hope this question makes sense!
Classification work is done by professional ichthyologists. These are people who have spent their whole lives studying fish and the little differences that separate the species. Often times these people have PhDs and hundreds of hours of research under their belts. Some will work at universities, and some will work for large museums. In those articles you see about species names changing you can usually find the name of the scientist studying the fish. If you give that name a quick google search you'll be able to see where he or she works.
A lot of genus are getting rearranged now due to genetic testing. Before DNA we just assigned species based on physical characteristics, but now with DNA we can go deeper than that.
If you're interested in this more, look into phylogeny. If you're in college, your university might offer courses on evolutionary biology which includes the process of phylogeny and speciation. It's pretty neat stuff!
Izzy has expertly answered your question, so I will just add a link to a short article I prepared a couple of years back on this topic, which might give you more background:
You are correct that fish names are changing quite fast these days. The article may give some insight into why by expanding on what Izzy mentioned; feel free to ask questions afterwards. I for one am thrilled when an aquarist takes an interest in this aspect of the hobby.:-D
Byron, that is a marvelous piece of writing and the information conveyed only fuels my fascination and desire to learn.
So much great information in such a short thread...
The portion of the name identifying the region/area of inhabitation seems really beneficial. Is that type of naming only seen in more recently discovered (or renamed) species?
I've done some studying lately on Heiko Bleher, he's a very interesting person.
Don't be surprised if I hit this thread again for additional information as I re-read your post.
I will also add that your thread: "HOW ARE FISH NAMED?" should become a sticky. The information contained within the post should not be buried deep amongst the archive (my search did not discover the thread), but rather readily available for forum readers, new and experienced alike.
Thank you for the link.
Naming a species after the location is not all that common, somewhat because so many new species are being described from the same areas but also I think ichthyologists like to find names that are more descriptive of the species. This too may have something to do with the sheer numbers.
It is fascinating that as explorationists like Heiko [whom I am pleased to call a friend as we have corresponded when I was attempting to ID one of my fish] move into previously unexplored areas, more and more fish that have evolved separately from their common ancestor are being found. For example, the little Black-Winged Hatchetfish, Carnegiella marthae; quite recent study has revealed that this single species may actually have evolved into at least three distinct species. Further data is in the profile.
So much new work is being published these days that it is not easy to keep up. One of our members earlier this week sent me a PM about a change in the genus of the Banded Dwarf Loach that he spotted on Seriously Fish that is owned by my friend Matt Ford, a UK biologist. I tracked it down, and came across the scientific study by Dr. Maurice Kottelat that was published on December 28, only a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Kottelat has been working on a review of all loach species since 1980, more than 30 years [he's been doing much other work too along the way, describing I don't know how many new species], and a number of changes have been made. I've revised those species that are in our profiles accordingly.
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