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In zoological nomenclature, a type species (Species typica) is the species name with which the name of a genus or subgenus is considered to be permanently taxonomically associated, i.e., the species that contains the biological type specimen(s). A similar concept is used for suprageneric groups called a type genus. In botanical nomenclature, these terms have no formal standing under the code of nomenclature, but are sometimes borrowed from zoological nomenclature. In botany, the type of a genus is a specimen (or, rarely, an illustration).
Every named genus or subgenus in zoology, whether or not currently recognized as valid, is theoretically associated with a type species. In practice, however, there is a backlog of untypified names (i.e., names which identify certain animals as belonging to separate species when in fact they belong to the same one).
A type species is both a concept and a practical system that is used in the classification and nomenclature (naming) of animals. The value of a "type species" lies in the fact that it makes clear what is meant by a particular genus name. This is an important concept whenever a taxon containing multiple species must be divided into more than one genus; the type species automatically assigns the name of the original taxon to one of the resulting new taxa, thus reducing the potential for confusion.
The term "type species" is regulated in zoological nomenclature by article 42.3 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which defines a type species as the name-bearing type of the name of a genus or subgenus (a "genus-group name") is the "type species". In the Glossary, type species is defined as
- "The nominal species that is the name-bearing type of a nominal genus or subgenus".
The type species permanently attaches a genus to its formal name (its generic name) by providing just one species within that genus to which the genus is permanently linked (i.e. the genus must include that species if it is to bear the name). The species name in turn is fixed, in theory, to a type specimen.
For example, the type species for the land snail genus Monacha is Monacha cartusiana. That genus is currently placed within the family Hygromiidae. The type genus for that family is the genus Hygromia.
- Principle of Typification
- Type (biology)
- Type genus
- Allotype (zoology)
- Genetypes – genetic sequence data from type specimens.
- "International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, Fourth Edition, adopted by the International Union of Biological Sciences". International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. 1999. Article 67.1
- International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) articles 10.1, 8.1 and 10.4 (Melbourne Code, 2012)
- Claude Dupuis (1974). "Pierre André Latreille (1762–1833): the foremost entomologist of his time" (PDF). Annual Review of Entomology 19: 1–14. doi:10.1146/annurev.en.19.010174.000245.