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Physeter catodon  Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Serial No.: 180489

 Taxonomy and Nomenclature
       
  Kingdom: Animalia  
  Taxonomic Rank: Species  
  Common Name(s): Sperm Whale [English]
 
  Valid Name: Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758
 
       
  Taxonomic Status:    
  Current Standing: invalid - other, see comments   
       
  Data Quality Indicators:    
  Record Credibility Rating: verified - standards met  
       

 References
       
  Expert(s):    
  Expert: Alfred L. Gardner  
  Notes: Curator of North American mammals and Chief of Mammal Section, National Biological Service, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA   
  Reference for: Physeter catodon    
       
  Expert: Dr. James G. Mead  
  Notes: Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 20560   
  Reference for: Physeter catodon    
       
  Other Source(s):    
  Source: NODC Taxonomic Code, database (version 8.0)  
  Acquired: 1996   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Source: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program, website (version undefined)  
  Acquired: 2001   
  Notes: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/   
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Publication(s):    
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Banks, R. C., R. W. McDiarmid, and A. L. Gardner  
  Publication Date: 1987   
  Article/Chapter Title: Checklist of Vertebrates of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and Canada   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Resource Publication, no. 166   
  Page(s): 79   
  Publisher: United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service   
  Publication Place: Washington, D.C., USA   
  ISBN/ISSN:    
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Hershkovitz, Philip  
  Publication Date: 1966   
  Article/Chapter Title: Catalog of Living Whales   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: United States National Museum Bulletin 246   
  Page(s): viii + 259   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place:    
  ISBN/ISSN:    
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Holthuis, L. B.  
  Publication Date: 1987   
  Article/Chapter Title: Letters: The Scientific Name of the Sperm Whale   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Marine Mammal Science, vol. 3, no. 1   
  Page(s): 87-88   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place:    
  ISBN/ISSN: 0824-0469   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Husson, A. M., and L. B. Holthuis  
  Publication Date: 1974   
  Article/Chapter Title: Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus, 1758, the valid name for the sperm whale   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Zoologische Mededelingen, vol. 48, no. 19   
  Page(s): 205-217 + 3   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place:    
  ISBN/ISSN:    
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Linnaeus, C. von  
  Publication Date: 1758   
  Article/Chapter Title:    
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Systema naturae per regna tria naturae secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, ed. 10, vol. 1   
  Page(s): 823   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place: Holmiae, Sweden   
  ISBN/ISSN:    
  Notes:    
  Reference for: original description   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Mead, James G., and Robert L. Brownell, Jr. / Wilson, Don E., and DeeAnn M. Reeder, eds.  
  Publication Date: 2005   
  Article/Chapter Title: Order Cetacea   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 3rd ed., vol. 1   
  Page(s): 723-743   
  Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press   
  Publication Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA   
  ISBN/ISSN: 0-8018-8221-4   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Rice, Dale W.  
  Publication Date: 1998   
  Article/Chapter Title: Marine Mammals of the World: Systematics and Distribution   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Special Publications of the Society for Marine Mammals, no. 4   
  Page(s): ix + 231   
  Publisher: The Society for Marine Mammalogy   
  Publication Place: Lawrence, Kansas, USA   
  ISBN/ISSN: 1-891276-03-4   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Schevill, William E.  
  Publication Date: 1986   
  Article/Chapter Title: The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and a paradigm: the name Physeter catodon Linnaeus 1758   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Marine Mammal Science, vol. 2, no. 2   
  Page(s): 153-157   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place:    
  ISBN/ISSN: 0824-0469   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Schevill, William E.  
  Publication Date: 1987   
  Article/Chapter Title: Letters: The Scientific Name of the Sperm Whale, Mr. Schevill replies   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Marine Mammal Science, vol. 3, no. 1   
  Page(s): 89-90   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place:    
  ISBN/ISSN: 0824-0469   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Selys-Longchamps, E. de  
  Publication Date: 1839   
  Article/Chapter Title: Europaeorum Mammalium, Index Methodicus   
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Études de Micromammalogie: revue des musaraignes, des rats et des campagnols, suivie d'un index méthodique des mammifères d'Europe   
  Page(s): 137-157   
  Publisher:    
  Publication Place: Paris, France   
  ISBN/ISSN:    
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Wilson, Don E., and DeeAnn M. Reeder, eds.  
  Publication Date: 1993   
  Article/Chapter Title:    
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2nd ed., 3rd printing   
  Page(s): xviii + 1207   
  Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press   
  Publication Place: Washington, DC, USA   
  ISBN/ISSN: 1-56098-217-9   
  Notes: Corrections were made to text at 3rd printing   
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Wilson, Don E., and F. Russell Cole  
  Publication Date: 2000   
  Article/Chapter Title:    
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: Common Names of Mammals of the World   
  Page(s): xiv + 204   
  Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press   
  Publication Place: Washington, DC, USA   
  ISBN/ISSN: 1-56098-383-3   
  Notes: With contributions by Bernadette N. Graham, Adam P. Potter, and Mariana M. Upmeyer   
  Reference for: Physeter catodon, Sperm Whale [English]   
       
  Author(s)/Editor(s): Wilson, Don E., and Sue Ruff, eds.  
  Publication Date: 1999   
  Article/Chapter Title:    
  Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.: The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals   
  Page(s): xxv + 750   
  Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press   
  Publication Place: Washington, DC, USA   
  ISBN/ISSN: 1-56098-845-2   
  Notes:    
  Reference for: Physeter catodon   
       

 Geographic Information
       
  Geographic Division: Antarctica/Southern Ocean  
    East Pacific  
    Eastern Atlantic Ocean  
    Indo-West Pacific  
    Western Atlantic Ocean  
       
  Jurisdiction/Origin: Continental US, Native  
    Canada, Native  
    Alaska, Native  
    Hawaii, Native  
    Central Pacific Territories, Native  
 

 

   

 Comments
       
  Comment: Status: CITES - Appendix I; U.S. ESA - Endangered; IUCN - Vulnerable as P. macrocephalus  
    Comments: Neotype designated by Husson and Holthuis (1974:212). Linnaeus used both catodon and macrocephalus in the 10th edition. P. catodon has line priority and, according to Linnaeus' diagnoses, is the only name applicable. See Hershkovitz (1966a:121), Schevill (1986, 1987b), Holthuis (1987), and Rice (1989, who also reviewed the species)  
    Note that "line priority" (cited by some sources as justification for using Physeter catodon over P. macrocephalus) is not supported by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. If these names are both properly applicable to the sperm whale then the Principle of First Reviser applies, in which case P. macrocephalus is the valid name (de Selys-Longchamps (1839) used macrocephalus with catodon in synonymy)  
    In recent confusion on the use of Physeter macrocephalus or P. catodon (both available from Linnaeus (1758)) for the sperm whale, the arguments ultimately hinge on whether or not both are applicable to this species. Based on careful consideration of the cited works & ICZN, the typification acts (Husson & Holthuis 1974, and Art. 72.4.1.1) are valid, so the names are conspecific, the Principle of the First Reviser (Art. 24.2, and Holthuis 1987) applies, and P. macrocephalus is the correct name  
 

 

   

 other off-site resources
       
 

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