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  • Naming Conventions for Conditional and Provisional Taxa
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sp. nr.

1) Means "species near"
2) Refers to a potentially undescribed species nearest to the species following the designation
3) Example: Hydropsyche sp. nr. simulans


1) Means "confer"
2) Refers to a species that closely matches the species following the designation but differs morphologically in some minor ways or the description in the literature is too vague or incomplete to be certain
3)Example: Hydropsyche cf. simulans


1) Used to denote two or more taxa that are unresolvable or where only two taxa are known in a monophyletic group
2) Placed between the taxa in question
3) Species or Taxa names are ordered alphabetically
4) Example: Hydropsyche rossi/simulans, Centroptilum/Procloeon

sp. 1 or sp. A
genus A

1) Refers to provisional taxa reported in the literature where their specific identity remains unknown; also known as "operational taxonomic units" or "OTUs"
2) Provisional designation is reported exactly as it appears in the literature
3) A ReferenceCode is required
4) Example: Oecetis sp. A


1) Denotes a group of more than two closely related species that cannot be separated or organisms that can be reliably placed in a species group where determination to species is unsupported
2) If only two species in the group, then use "/" or slash designation
3) Is formally recognized in the literature
4) A ReferenceCode is highly desirable, but not required
4) Example: Hydropsyche scalaris group


1) Denotes a species for which there may be considerable variation suggesting two or more cryptic species
2) Is formally recognized in the literature
3) A ReferenceCode is highly desirable, but not required
4) Example: Oecetis inconspicua complex

n. sp.

1) Means "new species"
2) Represents a species new to science that has been verified by a recognized authority or one that appears in the literature as such
3) A ReferenceCode is required
4) Example: Hydroptila n. sp.

Other conditional or provisional designations

1) Reported exactly as they appear in the reference from which they were obtained
2) A ReferenceCode is required
3) Example: Stilocladius? or Thienemannimyia group sp.

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