Glossary

Terms for checklists

  • Checklist A compilation of names of organisms (species), either for a defined taxonomic group, or for those covered by a piece of legislation.
  • Category (of checklist) Type of checklist, such as a legislative list or one produced by a national recording scheme
  • Authority (for a checklist) The publisher or provider of the checklist content. They own the intellectual property and copyright of the list.
  • Recommended (checklist) The best checklist in the Species Dictionary for a particular taxonomic group. Recommended by the National Biodiversity Network for biological recording.
  • Version (of checklist) A distinct edition of a checklist (most commonly for a published checklist), which supersedes previous versions, or the original checklist together with a series of  additions and amendments which together make up the current view of a checklist.
  • Last updated The most recent date on which changes or additions were made to a checklist

Terms for taxa

  • Recommended (taxa) Applies to scientific and common names. The currently recognised scientific name for a species as recommended by the Natural History Museum and the National Biodiversity Network for use for biological records in the UK (in a few cases, this may differ from the name used in other countries). For common names, this is either an 'official' name or one in wide usage.
  • Well-formed  (taxa) Applies to scientific and common names. For a scientific name (with rank below genus) to be 'well-formed', it must be correctly spelled and include an authority that complies with the applicable code of nomenclature. For a common name to be 'well-formed', it should have correct capitalisation and spelling.
  • Authority (taxa) The authority is the person responsible for the scientific name. The name of the author does not form part of the name of a taxon and its citation is optional. For taxa governed by the botanical code of nomenclature, the person's name will be abbreviated in a standard form. For taxa governed by the zoological code of nomenclature, the person's name is followed by the year of publication. In both cases, if  a species name is combined with a generic name other than the original one, the name of the author of the species name is enclosed in parentheses (the date, if cited, is to be enclosed within the same parentheses). The name of the author does not form part of the name of a taxon and its citation is optional, although customary and often advisable: for instance, it allows enables homonyms to be distinguished (e.g Morus Vieillot, 1816 is a bird and Morus L. is a plant).
  • Designation In this context “designation” applies to UK species and other taxonomic entities at a higher or lower rank than species. It is defined as any “status” that has been conferred on a taxon, to indicate that  it is a focus for conservation concern. Designations in the Dictionary of UK Species are restricted to published “status” lists and include Red Lists, Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Lists, species listed on European Directives or International Conventions, species listed on the Schedules of the Wildlife & Countryside Act and other UK legislation, together with authoritative lists of rare and scarce species. A designation does not always mean that the taxon is legally protected.