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Introducing The ETYFish Project (etyfish.org)

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#1 Guest_kalawatseti_*

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:22 AM

Announcing the release of The ETYFish Project, the first and only reference that aims to explain the name etymology of every valid genus, subgenus, species and subspecies of fish and fish-like craniate (excluding fossils).

The Project's objectives are twofold: to provide an English translation of a fish’s generic and specific names, and to explain how the name applies to the fish in question. Many references accomplish the first objective but fall short with the second.

A case in point:

Trinectes is a genus of coastal North and South American flatfishes whose name was coined by Rafinesque in 1832. Numerous books and websites will tell you that Trinectes is a combination of tri-, meaning three, and nektes, meaning swimmer. What most references fail to explain is what “three swimmer” actually means. (Does the fish swim in groups of three?) The answer lies in Rafinesque’s one-sentence description: “... it has only three fins, dorsal, anal and caudal.” Clearly, Rafinesque referred to the fact that the specimen he examined (now known as T. maculatus) lacked pectoral fins (a characteristic of the species) and, hence, had only three fins with which to swim. It’s this kind of analysis we believe makes The ETYFish Project a unique and useful reference for anyone who studies or writes about fishes or is curious about the combination of biology and language that zoological nomenclature represents.

With the exception of four Vietnamese loaches, we've researched and compiled name etymologies for every valid genus- and species-level taxa from Myxiniformes through Cypriniformes. This includes all elasmobranchs, all clupeids, all eels, all carps and minnows, and more. That's over 8,500 names! Work is underway on the Characiformes and we expect to begin adding those names to the site very soon.

In 1896, Smithsonian zoologist Theodore Gill wrote, “The means for ascertaining or confirming the etymologies of many scientific names are, perhaps, not available for all who might desire to ascertain them, and they are often wrongly analyzed.”

One-hundred-and-seventeen years later, The ETYFish Project begins to fill that void.

We hope you find the site interesting and useful. Please have a look and tell us what you think. And please send us PDFs of new taxa and revisionary studies so that we can add names, delete synonyms, and keep the database taxonomically up-to-date. Thanks!

Christopher Scharpf
Kenneth J. Lazara

#2 Guest_fritz_*

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 08:47 AM

Wow Chris! This is great!

#3 Guest_blakemarkwell_*

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:32 AM

Dang! This is a definite bookmark. Thanks for all the work you two put into this invaluable reference!

#4 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
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  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:36 AM

pinned it here as well
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#5 Guest_Uland_*

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:08 PM

Great stuff Chris and thanks for making it widely available.

As far as Agosia, Dionda and Nocomis.....I think they were part of the original pokemon lineup.

#6 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

Guest_Irate Mormon_*
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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:53 PM

This is excellent.

#7 Guest_harryknaub_*

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:01 PM

Such an ambitous project. And yet who but Chris "annotated checklist" Scharpf would even think to take on such a project. Thank you for another service above and beyond for the fish world.


#8 Guest_kalawatseti_*

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:29 AM

Thanks, everybody, for the kind words.

The ETYFish Project now has a Facebook page, where we'll post updates, nomenclatural trivia and whatever else comes to mind. Give it a "Like," why don't ya?

Chris "Annotated Checklist" Scharpf

#9 olaf

  • NANFA Member

Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:19 PM

What a cool idea!
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