Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Review
Published: 2021-05-28
Page range: 70–94
Abstract views: 326
PDF downloaded: 170

The role and impact of Zootaxa in mammalogy in its first 20 years

Laboratório de Mamíferos, Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Centro de Ciências Exatas e da Natureza, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Campus I, João Pessoa, PB, Brazil.
Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
Laboratoire Évolution & Diversité Biologique, Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 118 route de Narbonne – Bât. 4R1, 31062 Toulouse cedex 9, France.
Departamento de Vertebrados, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 20940-040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution (ISEM, UMR 5554 CNRS-IRD-UM), Université de Montpellier, Place E. Bataillon - CC 064 - 34095, Montpellier Cedex 5, France. Mammal Section, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, SW7 5DB London, United Kingdom
Department of Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, USA. Department of Biology, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038, USA.
División Mastozoología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Avenida Ángel Gallardo 470, C1405DJR Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution (ISEM, UMR 5554 CNRS-IRD-UM), Université de Montpellier, Place E. Bataillon - CC 064 - 34095, Montpellier Cedex 5, France. Mammal Section, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, SW7 5DB London, United Kingdom
Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité,CNRS MNHN SU EPHE UA, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, CP 51, 57 Rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Avenue, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA.


Zootaxa came as a new and innovative publication medium for taxonomy, amidst a scenario of devaluation of this important biological science. After 20 years, it has ascertained itself as one of the main journals in animal taxonomy. However, the contribution of the journal to the taxonomy of Mammalia (mammals), one of the most studied groups of animals with a long-standing, dedicated spectrum of specialized journals (mammalogy), could have been expected as minor. All the current and former editors of the Mammalia section of Zootaxa analyzed the relative contribution of the journal to the description of new species of mammals since 2001. We also analyzed the contribution of Zootaxa by taxon, geographic origin of taxa, and geographic origin of first authors. The taxonomic methodology of authors in species description is described as well as the temporal trends in publications and publication subjects. We highlight the editors’ picks and eventually, the challenges for the future. We found that Zootaxa has had a significant contribution to mammalogy, being the second journal (the first being Journal of Mammalogy) in terms of number of new species described (76; 10.6% of the new mammalian species described between 2001 and 2020). The majority of the new species were described following an integrative taxonomic approach with at least two sources of data (86%). The analysis of published taxa, their geographic origin, and the country of origin of first authors shows a wide coverage and exhaustive representation, except for the species from the Nearctic. We conclude that Zootaxa has likely responded to a repressed demand for an additional taxonomic journal in mammalogy, with as possible appeals the absence of publication fees and an established publication speed. With 246 articles published in the past 20 years, the Mammalia section of Zootaxa embraces a large spectrum of systematic subjects going beyond alpha taxonomy. The challenges for the future are to encourage publications of authors from the African continent, still poorly represented, and from the palaeontology community, as the journal has been open to palaeontology since its early days.



  1. Anderson, S. & Van Gelder, R.G. (1970) The history and status of the literature of mammalogy. BioScience, 20 (17), 949–957.

    Asher, R.J. & Helgen, K.M. (2011) High level mammalian taxonomy: a response to Hedges (2011). Zootaxa, 3092(1), 63–64.

    Bakker, F.T., Antonelli, A., Clarke, J.A., Cook, J.A., Edwards, S.V., Ericson, P.G., Faurby, S., Ferrand, N., Gelang, M., Gillespie, R.G., Irestedt, M., Lundin, K., Larsson, E., Matos-Maraví, P., Müller, J., von Proschwitz, T., Roderick, G.K., Schliep, A., Wahlberg, N., Wiedenhoeft, J. & Källersjö, M. (2020) The global museum: natural history collections and the future of evolutionary science and public education. PeerJ, 8, e8225.

    Balakirev, A.E., Abramov, A.V. & Rozhnov, V.V. (2013) Revision of the genus Leopoldamys (Rodentia, Muridae) as inferred from morphological and molecular data, with a special emphasis on the species composition in continental Indochina. Zootaxa, 3640 (4), 521–549.

    Bebber, D.P., Marriott, F.H., Gaston, K.J., Harris, S.A. & Scotland, R.W. (2007) Predicting unknown species numbers using discovery curves. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274 (1618), 1651–1658.

    Burgin, C.J., Colella, J.P., Kahn, P.L. & Upham, N.S. (2018) How many species of mammals are there? Journal of Mammalogy, 99 (1), 1–14.

    Carleton, M.D., Banasiak, R.A. & Stanley, W.T. (2015) A new species of the rodent genus Hylomyscus from Angola, with a distributional summary of the H. anselli species group (Muridae: Murinae: Praomyini). Zootaxa, 4040 (2), 101–128.

    Carvalho, M.R., Bockmann, F.A., Amorim, D.S., Brandão, C.R.F., de Vivo, M., de Figueiredo, J. L., Britski, H.A., Pinna, M.C.C., Menezes, N.A., Marques, F.P.L., Papavero, N., Cancello, E.M., Crisci, J.V., McEachran, J.D., Schelly, R.C., Lundberg,J.G., Gill, A.C., Britz, R., Wheeler, Q.D., Stiassny, M.L.J., Parenti, L.R., Page, L.M., Wheeler, W.C., Faivovich, J., Vari, R.P., Grande, L., Humphries, C.J., DeSalle, R., Ebach, M.C. & Nelson, G.J. (2007) Taxonomic impediment or impediment to taxonomy? A commentary on systematics and the cybertaxonomic-automation paradigm. Evolutionary Biology, 34(3), 140–143.

    Catalogue of Life (2021) Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Digital resource at Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands. ISSN 2405-8858 (accessed 5 April 2021)

    Clark, K., Karsch-Mizrachi, I., Lipman, D.J., Ostell, J. & Sayers, E.W. (2016) GenBank. Nucleic Acids Research, 44(D1), D67–72.

    https://doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv1276

    Colyn, M., Hulselmans, J., Sonet, G., Oudé, P., De Winter, J., Natta, A., Nagy, Z.T. & Verheyen, E. (2010) Discovery of a new duiker species (Bovidae: Cephalophinae) from the Dahomey Gap, West Africa. Zootaxa, 2637 (1), 1–30.

    Costello, M.J., Wilson, S. & Houlding, B. (2012) Predicting total global species richness using rates of species description and estimates of taxonomic effort. Systematic Biology, 61 (5), 871–883.

    Cramb, J. & Hocknull, S. (2010) New Quaternary records of Conilurus (Rodentia: Muridae) from eastern and northern Australia with the description of a new species. Zootaxa, 2634 (1), 41–56.

    Cucchi, T., Orth, A., Auffray, J.-C., Renaud, S., Fabre, L., Catalan, J., Hadjisterkotis, E., Bonhomme F. & Vigne, J.-D. (2006) A new endemic species of the subgenus Mus (Rodentia, Mammalia) on the Island of Cyprus. Zootaxa, 1241, 1–36.

    De Valais, S. (2009) Ichnotaxonomic revision of Ameghinichnus, a mammalian ichnogenus from the middle Jurassic La Matilde formation, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Zootaxa, 2203 (1), 1–21.

    Edie, S.M., Smits, P.D. & Jablonski, D. (2017) Probabilistic models of species discovery and biodiversity comparisons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 114 (14), 3666–3671.

    Feijó, A. & Cordeiro-Estrela, P. (2016) Taxonomic revision of the Dasypus kappleri complex, with revalidations of Dasypus pastasae (Thomas, 1901) and Dasypus beniensis Lönnberg, 1942 (Cingulata, Dasypodidae). Zootaxa, 4170 (2), 271–297.

    Garbino, G.S., Lim, B.K. & Tavares, V.C. (2020) Systematics of big-eyed bats, genus Chiroderma Peters, 1860 (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Zootaxa, 4846 (1), 1–93.

    Gaubert, P., Tranier, M., Veron, G., Kock, D., Dunham, A.E., Taylor, P.J., Stuart, C., Stuart, T. & Wozencraft, C.W. (2003) Nomenclatural comments on the Rusty-spotted Genet (Carnivora, Viverridae) and designation of a neotype. Zootaxa, 160 (1), 1–14.

    Goncalves, P.R. & Oliveira, J.A. (2014) An integrative appraisal of the diversification in the Atlantic forest genus Delomys (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Sigmodontinae) with the description of a new species. Zootaxa, 3760 (1), 1–38. (2021) GBIF Home Page. Available from: (accessed 12 April 2020)

    Goodman, S.M., Kearney, T., Ratsimbazafy, M.M. & Hassanin, A. (2017) Description of a new species of Neoromicia (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from southern Africa: a name for N. cf. melckorum. Zootaxa, 4236 (2), 351–374.

    Goodman, S.M., Ramasindrazana, B., Naughton, K.M. & Appleton, B. (2015) Description of a new species of the Miniopterus aelleni group (Chiroptera: Miniopteridae) from upland areas of central and northern Madagascar. Zootaxa, 3936 (4), 538–558.

    Goodman, S.M., Ramasindrazana, B., Maminirina, C.P., Schoeman, M.C. & Appleton, B. (2011) Morphological, bioacoustical, and genetic variation in Miniopterus bats from eastern Madagascar, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa, 2880 (1), 1–19.

    Hamilton, C.A., Shockley, F.W., Simmons, R., Smith, A., Ware, J. & Zaspel, J.M. (2021) The future for a prominent taxonomy. Insect Systematics and Diversity, 5(1), 1–2.

    Helgen, K.M. (2004) On the identity of flying-foxes, genus Pteropus (Mammalia : Chiroptera), from islands in the Torres Strait, Australia. Zootaxa, 780 (1), 1–14.

    Hoagland, K.E. (1996) The taxonomic impediment and the convention of biodiversity. Association of Systematics Collections Newsletter, 24(5), 61–62.

    Jackson, S.M., Fleming, P.J., Eldridge, M.D., Ingleby, S., Flannery, T., Johnson, R.N., Cooper, S.J.B., Mitchell, K.J., Souilmi, Y., Cooper, A., Wilson, D.E. & Helgen, K.M. (2019) The dogma of dingoes—taxonomic status of the dingo: a reply to Smith et al. Zootaxa, 4564 (1), 198–212.

    Jackson, S.M., Groves, C.P., Fleming, P.J., Aplin, K.P., Eldridge, M.D., Gonzalez, A. & Helgen, K.M. (2017) The wayward dog: is the Australian native dog or dingo a distinct species? Zootaxa, 4317 (2), 201–224.

    Jayat, J.P., Ortiz, P.E., Salazar-Bravo, J., Pardinas, U.F. & D’Elía, G. (2010) The Akodon boliviensis species group (Rodentia: Cricetidae: Sigmodontinae) in Argentina: species limits and distribution, with the description of a new entity. Zootaxa, 2409 (1), 1–61.

    Jo, Y.S., Baccus, J.T. & Koprowski, J.L. (2018) Mammals of Korea: a review of their taxonomy, distribution, and conservation status. Zootaxa, 4522 (1), 1–216.

    Kock, D., Ingram, C.M., Frabotta, L.J., Honeycutt, R.L. & Burda, H. (2006) On the nomenclature of Bathyergidae and Fukomys n. gen. (Mammalia: Rodentia). Zootaxa, 1142 (1), 51–55.

    Kruskop, S.V., Kawai, K. & Tiunov, M.P. (2019) Taxonomic status of the barbastelles (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Barbastella) from the Japanese archipelago and Kunashir Island. Zootaxa, 4567 (3), 461–476.

    Li, S. & Yang, J. (2009) Geographic variation of the Anderson’s Niviventer (Niviventer andersoni) (Thomas, 1911) (Rodentia: Muridae) of two new subspecies in China verified with cranial morphometric variables and pelage characteristics. Zootaxa, 2196 (1), 48–58.

    Moura, J.F., Góis, F., Galliari, F.C. & Fernandes, M.A. (2019) A new and most complete pampathere (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Cingulata) from the Quaternary of Bahia, Brazil. Zootaxa, 4661 (3), 401–444.

    Nicolas, V., Fabre, P.H., Bryja, J., Denys, C., Verheyen, E., Missoup, A.D., Olayemi, A., Katuala, P., Dudu, A., Colyn, M., Peterhans, J.K. & Demos, T. (2020) The phylogeny of the African wood mice (Muridae, Hylomyscus) based on complete mitochondrial genomes and five nuclear genes reveals their evolutionary history and undescribed diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 144, 106703.

    O’Leary, M.A. & Kaufman, S.G. (2012) MorphoBank 3.0: Web application for morphological phylogenetics and taxonomy. (accessed 24 April 2021)

    Pinto, Â.P., Mejdalani, G., Mounce, R., Silveira, L.F., Marinoni, L. & Rafael, J.A. (2021) Are publications on zoological taxonomy under attack? Royal Society Open Science, 8 (2), 201617.

    Prathapan, K.D., Pethiyagoda, R., Bawa, K.S., Raven, P.H. & Rajan, P.D. (2018) When the cure kills—CBD limits biodiversity research. Science, 360 (6396), 1405–1406.

    Puechmaille, S.J., Allegrini, B., Benda, P., Gürün, K., Šrámek, J., Ibanez, C., Juste, J. & Bilgin, R. (2014) A new species of the Miniopterus schreibersii species complex (Chiroptera: Miniopteridae) from the Maghreb Region, North Africa. Zootaxa, 3794 (1), 108–124.

    Quintela, F.M., Bertuol, F., Gonzalez, E.M., Cordeiro-Estrela, P., De Freitas, T.R.O. & Goncalves G.L. (2017). A new species of Deltamys Thomas, 1917 (Rodentia: Cricetidae) endemic to the southern Brazilian Araucaria Forest and notes on the expanded phylogeographic scenario of D. kempi. Zootaxa, 4294 (1), 71–92.

    Quintela, F.M., Gonçalves, G.L., Althoff, S.L., Sbalqueiro, I.J., Oliveira, L.F.B. & Freitas, T. R.O. (2014) A new species of swamp rat of the genus Scapteromys Waterhouse, 1837 (Rodentia: Sigmodontinae) endemic to Araucaria angustifolia forest in Southern Brazil. Zootaxa, 3811 (2), 207–225.

    Ralph, T.M., Richards, L.R., Taylor, P.J., Napier, M.C. & Lamb, J.M. (2015). Revision of Afro-Malagasy Otomops (Chiroptera: Molossidae) with the description of a new Afro-Arabian species. Zootaxa, 4057 (1), 1–49.

    Ratnasingham, S. & Hebert, P.D.N. (2007) BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data System ( Molecular Ecology Notes 7, 355–364.

    https://doi: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2006.01678.x

    Reardon, T., Adams, M., McKenzie, N. & Jenkins, P. (2008) A new species of Australian freetail bat Mormopterus eleryi sp. nov. (Chiroptera: Molossidae) and a taxonomic reappraisal of M. norfolkensis (Gray). Zootaxa, 1875 (1), 1–31.

    Rocha, R.G., Ferreira, E., Costa, B., Martins, I., Leite, Y.L., Costa, L.P. & Fonseca, C. (2011) Small mammals of the mid-Araguaia River in central Brazil, with the description of a new species of climbing rat. Zootaxa, 2789 (1), 1–34.

    Rodman, J.E. & Cody, J.H. (2003) The taxonomic impediment overcome: NSF’s partnerships for enhancing expertise in taxonomy (PEET) as a model. Systematic Biology, 52 (3), 428–435.

    Rowe, K.C., Achmadi, A.S. & Esselstyn, J.A. (2014) Convergent evolution of aquatic foraging in a new genus and species (Rodentia: Muridae) from Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Zootaxa, 3815 (4), 541–564.

    Schindel, D.E. and the Economic Study Group of the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections. (2020) Economic Analyses of Federal Scientific Collections: Methods for Documenting Costs and Benefits. Report. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Scholarly Press.

    Shockey, B.J., Billet, G. & Salas-Gismondi, R. (2016) A new species of Trachytherus (Notoungulata: Mesotheriidae) from the late Oligocene (Deseadan) of Southern Peru and the middle latitude diversification of early diverging mesotheriids. Zootaxa, 4111 (5), 565–583.

    Smith, B.P., Cairns, K.M., Adams, J.W., Newsome, T.M., Fillios, M., Deaux, E.C., Parr, W.C.H., Letnic, M., Van Eeden, L.M., Appleby, R.B., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Savolainen, P., Ritchie, E.G., Nimmo, D.G., Archer-Lean C., Greenville, A.C., Dickman, C.R., Watson, L., Moseby, K.E., Doherty, T.S., Wallach, A.D., Morrant, D.S. & Crowther, M.S. (2019) Taxonomic status of the Australian dingo: the case for Canis dingo Meyer, 1793. Zootaxa, 4564 (1), 173–197.

    Soisook, P., Karapan, S., Satasook, C. & Bates, P.J. (2013) A new species of Murina (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa, 3746 (4), 567–579.

    Soisook, P., Prajakjitr, A., Karapan, S., Francis, C.M. & Bates, P.J. (2015) A new genus and species of false vampire (Chiroptera: Megadermatidae) from peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa, 3931 (4), 528–550.

    Soisook, P., Thaw, W.N., Kyaw, M., Oo, S.S.L., Pimsai, A., Suarez-Rubio, M. & Renner, S.C. (2017) A new species of Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from sub-Himalayan forests of northern Myanmar. Zootaxa, 4320 (1), 159–172.

    Taylor, P.J., Lavrenchenko, L.A., Carleton, M.D., Verheyen, E., Bennett, N.C., Oosthuizen, C.J. & Maree, S. (2011) Specific limits and emerging diversity patterns in East African populations of laminate-toothed rats, genus Otomys (Muridae: Murinae: Otomyini): revision of the Otomys typus complex. Zootaxa, 3024 (1), 1–66.

    Travouillon, K.J. & Phillips, M.J. (2018) Total evidence analysis of the phylogenetic relationships of bandicoots and bilbies (Marsupialia: Peramelemorphia): reassessment of two species and description of a new species. Zootaxa, 4378 (2), 224–256.

    Van Der Geer, A.A.E. (2014) Systematic revision of the family Hoplitomerycidae Leinders, 1984 (Artiodactyla: Cervoidea), with the description of a new genus and four new species. Zootaxa, 3847(1), 1–32.

    Velazco, P.M. & Lim, B.K. (2014) A new species of broad-nosed bat Platyrrhinus Saussure, 1860 (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) from the Guianan Shield. Zootaxa, 3796 (1), 175–193.

    Verheyen, W., Hulselmans, J., Wendelen, W., Leirs, H. & Corti, M. (2011) Contribution to the systematics and zoogeography of the East-African Acomys. Zootaxa, 3059, 1–35.

    Wüest, R.O., Zimmermann, N.E., Zurell, D., Alexander, J.M., Fritz, S.A., Hof, C., Kreft, H., Normand, S., Cabral, J.S., Szekely, E., Thuiller, W., Wikelski, M. & Karger, D.N. (2020) Macroecology in the age of Big Data–where to go from here? Journal of Biogeography, 47 (1), 1–12.

    Zhang, Z.Q. (2006) The making of a mega-journal in taxonomy. Zootaxa, 1385, 67–68.