Finding citations of original species descriptions

In taxonomic works, it’s standard to include the name of the person who originally described the species (and date of description) after the name of the species. However, almost no one then provides the citation of the publication in which it was described. What is the easiest way to find these citations?
Rasahus hamatus (Fabricius 1781) for example.

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Google scholar is often good, but not always successful

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For plants, ipni.org is a good source of information. Links to the original source material are often provided as well.

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Yes, I use Google Scholar as my go-to resource. However, a search on Rasahus hamatus (Fabricius 1781) brings up every paper with those words in it. It’s still finding a needle in a haystack–and many of the older works aren’t in Google Scholar. So far, my approach has been to look at every paper that Google Scholar brings up and check the lit cited to see if any of them by some odd fluke actually cite the original description. Rarely do they. But I did find this particular one by using that approach. I was just wondering if there was a resource that would be easier.

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I was just checking search results and I see your problem. It’s strange that no one directly cites the original paper!

you can try Plazi

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Sometimes you can track down the original description (OD) online but it can take some effort and not always successful. For example, Fabricius 1781* might actually be out there in digital form. Or a subsequent review/revision paper on the taxonomic group which will often include the citation info for the OD. I’m sure the availability of such sources depends on which taxa you’re interested in as some groups are better documented in the literature than others.

*-Fabricius, J. C. 1781. Species insectorvm exhibentes eorvm differentias specificas, synonyma avctorvm, loca natalia, metamorphosin adiectis observationibvs, descriptionibvs. Tom. I. - pp. I-VIII [= 1-8], 1-552. Hambvrgi, Kilonii. (Bohn).

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One more source for you @pfau_tarleton
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/12058738

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For some taxa described in the 1700s or 1800s, the author and year can be a bit nebulous since the publication might not have appeared in the year that was printed on the publication, or the author who described it might not be the author of the larger publication (e.g., a survey report, with multiple chapters/authors) in which the OD is included. Can get confusing and I’ve seen citations of species OD’s from that period change as modern researchers review them.

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That’s a great resource. Thanks!

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Thanks…that’s it!! So close…but yet so far…Rahasus hamatus doesn’t appear in either volume I or volume II. It’s supposed to be in volume II. Arghhh! :exploding_head:

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For future reference, I ended up there from bugguide > wikipedia. The article on wikipedia has a “works” section with some links and citations.

Cue Darth Vader https://imgur.com/iBqTnAM

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Do you mean this page?
https://bugguide.net/node/view/504070
Good gosh, how did you find that? A great resource, though!

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I got lucky! Honestly, I was hoping that there was a citation on the species page, like some pages have direct links to papers. I don’t know what I would do without bug guide, discover life, and moth photographer’s group.

Is this it?
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/44575#page/389/mode/1up

BHL has a lot of old literature, but you have to know how to look for it.

And the species in question often weren’t described in the genus that we know them by now. It looks like this was originally described under Reduvius, so searching for Rasahus won’t get you anywhere. Even if you know the original genus, older authors often didn’t list the genus each time they described a species (as in this case). So you have to just search for the epithet (which is how I found this), but you have to keep in mind that the gender/ending may have been different/wrong in the original description.

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Agreed – man, that isn’t clear at all in this publication what’s being described. I went right past page 381 and didn’t even see it.

Actually, once you grasp the format that was used in these old descriptions it’s not too bad. Linnaeus did it in a somewhat similar fashion, and as you say, you often won’t see a Genus Species combination in the same line.

for marine organism, try worms http://www.marinespecies.org/ there is available the original description for almost for any taxon look at this site https://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=236910 below in Source
then try to look for that reference in https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/

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Holy cats…yes! Not sure what went wrong, because I did a search in the text for just ‘hamatus’ and nothing showed up. But now it does.

Thanks everyone for the many sources. I’ve got these book marked for the next challenge that comes along.

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For Diptera you can check the references search on diptera.org.

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for spiders: https://wsc.nmbe.ch/

sorry, was not meant as reply :-)