Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


On the attribution of authorship for several elasmobranch species in Müller and Henle’s Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii)



Even in light of the recent peak in new species descriptions of elasmobranchs (summarized in White & Last, 2012), Johannes Müller and Friedrich Henle’s Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen (1839–1841) stands as a major achievement in chondrichthyan taxonomy. This volume included all elasmobranch species then known as well as descriptions of 61 new species (for a total of 214 species), and established many of the family-level groups still in use today. Müller & Henle’s work, however, would not have been possible without the collaboration of other naturalists who provided specimens for examination, detailed notes, and illustrations (Müller & Henle, 1841). Four men in particular made significant enough contributions to warrant Müller & Henle attributing the authority of several species to them: Achille Valenciennes (1794–1865), Gabriel Bibron (1805–1848), Heinrich Bürger (1806–1858), and Andrew Smith (1797–1872). In nearly every case however, authority is currently placed on Müller & Henle themselves, and not the gentlemen to whom they gave credit.



Pisces, Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii

Full Text:

PDF/A (136.96 KB)


Adler, K. (1989) Herpetologists of the past. In: Adler, K.( Ed.), Contributions to the History of Herpetology. Contributions to Herpetology, 5, 5–136.

Boeseman, M. (1947) Revision of the fishes collected by Burger and Von Siebold in Japan. Zoologische Mededeelingen, 28, 1–242, 5 pls.

Duméril, A.H.A. (1865) Histoire Naturelle des Poissons ou Ichtyologie Générale (Vol. 1, No. 1). Roret.

Eschmeyer, W.N. (Ed) (2014) Catalog of Fishes: Genera, Species, References. Available from: (accessed 18 Mar 2014) [This version was edited by Bill Eschmeyer.]

ICZN. (1999) International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth Edition. The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London, UK. 306 pp.

Jordan, D.S. (1902) The history of ichthyology. Science, 16 (398), 241–258.

Muller, J. & Henle, F.G.J. (1838–1841) Systamatische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen, Veit und Comp., Berlin. i-xxii + 1–200, 60 pls. [pp. 1–28 published in 1838, reset pp. 27–28, 29–102 in 1839, i-xxii + 103–200 in 1841.]

Nelson, J.S., Crossman, E.J., Espinosa-Pérez, H., Findley, L.T., Gilbert, C.R., Lea, R.N. & Williams, J.D. (2004) Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 6th edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland.

Robins, C.R., Bailey, R.M., Bond, C.E., Brooker, J.R., Lachner, E.A., Lea, R.N. & Scott, W.B. (1991) Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. 5th edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20, Bethesda, Maryland.

Smith, A. (1831) Contributions to the natural history of South Africa No. I. South African Quarterly Journal, 1 (5), 9–24.

Smith, A. (1838) On the necessity for a revision of the groups included in the Linnean genus Squalus. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 5 (57), 85–86.

White, W.T. & Last, P.R. (2012) A review of the taxonomy of chondrichthyan fishes: a modern perspective. Journal of Fish Biology, 80 (5), 901–917.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa