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The inequity of species names: The flora of New Caledonia as a case study

Abstract : Since Linnaeus popularized the system of binomial nomenclature to describe living organisms, it has been common practice to name species after people (eponyms). Trends in species naming were analyzed in the endemic flora of New Caledonia, a biodiversity hotspot in the South-West Pacific. It was found that eponyms were predominantly from France and other European countries, and to a lesser extent from neighboring countries in Oceania or North America. Today, just 7% of these eponyms were born in New Caledonia, and 6% were women. Most of the corresponding species were described in the past five decades. Although the evidence is still preliminary, the name of a species appears to have a significant impact on how people relate to it, and this may be especially important for threatened endemic species and the willingness of local populations to preserve them. Because newly described species are often rare and endangered, adopting a more balanced approach to species naming may help to secure their future, particularly given the current extinction crisis.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03274523
Contributor : Suzette Astruc <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 11:05:08 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:44:07 PM

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Yohan Pillon. The inequity of species names: The flora of New Caledonia as a case study. Biological Conservation, Elsevier, 2021, 253, ⟨10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108934⟩. ⟨hal-03274523⟩

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