Undescribed taxon

Undescribed taxon

In taxonomy, an undescribed taxon is a taxon (for example, a species) that has been discovered, but not yet formally described. The various Nomenclature Codes specify the requirements of a valid description of a new taxon. Until such a description has been published, the taxon has no formal or official name, although a temporary, informal name is often used. It is possible for a taxon to be "undescribed" for an extensive period of time, even if unofficial descriptions are published.

An undescribed species may be referred to with the genus name, followed by "sp". In some cases, there is more than one undescribed species in a genus. In this case, these are often referred to by a number or letter. In the shark genus Pristiophorus, for example, there are four undescribed species, informally named Pristiophorus sp. A to D. When a formal description of one of these species is published, its temporary name will be replaced with a proper binomial name.

In bacteriology, a valid publication of a name requires the deposition of the bacteria in a Bacteriology Culture Collection. Species for which this is impossible cannot receive a valid binomial name; these species are classified as Candidatus.

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