[Taxacom] "sp. nr." in name

Norbert Holstein holstein at uni-bonn.de
Tue Oct 17 15:44:31 CDT 2017

sp. nr. clearly stands for "species near"

Formerly, one could have written "aff." = affinis -> "with 
affinities to" or "cf." -> confis = "compare with".
"aff." gives some certainty about the relationship and 
seems to imply novelty, while cf. implies more 
uncertainty. See also Bengtson (1988) Open nomenclature" 
in Paleontology 31: 223-227.
If the term "sp." is used, it may indicate that it's not a 
even considered a new subspecies but may be even a new 


> I've recently come across "sp. nr." in names.  For 
>example, Geolaelaps sp.
> nr. aculeifer (Canestrini) (Acari: Laelapidae) (Source
> <https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/canadian-entomologist/article/biological-control-of-fungus-gnats-bradysia-spp-diptera-sciaridae-and-western-flower-thrips-frankliniella-occidentals-pergande-thysanoptera-thripidae-in-greenhouses-using-a-soil-dwelling-predatory-mite-geolaelaps-sp-nr-aculeifer-canestrini-acari-laelapidae1/CE688E27B47A3747F1A2328A3984F823>
> )
> This appears to be uncommon. In nearly all insect 
>determination labels I've
> seen, if the identifier isn't sure about the 
>identification, either nr. or
> cf. could be used, but without sp., which seems 
>redundant. A colleague of
> mine argues that "sp." is needed to make the name 
>binomial. Not sure if I
> see the point of doing that for species with doubtful 
>identification. Any
> thoughts? Thanks.
> Best,
> Guanyang
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Dr.rer.nat. Norbert Holstein
Nees-Institut f. Biodiversität d. Pflanzen
Venusbergweg 22
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