Fwd: taxonomy of domestic cat

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Tue Sep 16 17:23:12 CDT 2003

>The textbook I am using to teach an undergraduate class refers to the
>domestic cat as Felis domestica, and an earlier edition of the same
>book as F. sylvestris.  However, Linnaeus named the cat Felis catus,
>which would seem to preceed either name in the text.  However, I find
>all three when I search the internet.
>Can someone please tell me the real name, and if it isn't F. catus,
>explain the precedence of the name?

According to a quick check, Felis domesticus is attributed to
Erxleben 1777, and thus is junior to both F. catus Linnaeus 1758 and
F. sylvestris Schreber 1775 (there also appears to be a silvestris
Schreber 1777). Technically, by the rule of priority it appears that
it should be Felis catus sylvestris (and Felis catus lybica) instead
of Felis sylvestris catus, but this course has not been followed on
the grounds that many people feel that species names should not be
based on domestic variants. I'm not sure if that appears in the ICZN,

Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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