Home | E-mail | Plant files |  Dictionary  | Search 

Holotype   [ Taxonomy ]
Synonym: Type specimen
Abbreviation: HT

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

  Also called type specimens or just type. A holotype is the single physical specimen of an organism selected by the original author of a species to be the standard-bearer for the new name which defines the characteristics of the whole species, or the illustration used as the basis for naming the species when no type has been selected.  
Thus, a published holotype description becomes the official description of a new species, but the type specimen remains available to extend or modify that description in the future if it become necessary.

The holotype plant is conserved (a process called curation) typically dried and kept in an herbarium.
Biological collections are maintained by universities and museums.

If more than one specimen was used to describe the species, then the other specimens apart from the holotype are called paratypes, although there is sometimes a risk that a paratype is not in fact of the same species as the holotype but a very similar one and so the description may not be accurate.
There are many terms used to describe other example specimens of a species called biological types:
Paratype, A biological specimen other than the holotype used for the development of the original description.
Isotype, A duplicate specimen of the holotype collected in the same place and time.
Allotype a comparative specimen of the opposite sex to the holotype
Neotype a substitute specimen selected if the holotype was destroyed or otherwise lost
Isoneotype  a duplicate of the neotype
Syntypes. two or more specimens describing of a new species when the author did not select a holotype.
Isosyntypes duplicates of a syntype.
Lectotype One single specimen later selected from the syntypes as the definitive type example
Paralectotypes After the definitive chosen of the lectotype the remainder syntypes become paralectotypes.
Epitype A later specimen used as an interpretative type when the holotype, lectotype, or  neotype, is ambiguous.





Old Cactuspedia home | E-mail | Photo gallery | Dictionary | Search 

Please note: this is an obsolete page Try the new Cactuspedia interface