Amphibian taxonomy on the IUCN Red List follows the American Museum of Natural History’s Amphibian Species of the World (ASW; http://research.amnh.org/vz/herpetology/amphibia/) as a taxonomic standard. In a few instances the IUCN Red List may depart from the ASW standard to include very newly described species or to record a new split/merge which are not yet listed in the published version of ASW. Please consult with the RLA Coordinator concerning issues with any given taxonomic arrangement/proposal.
Taxonomic changes (either merges or splits) or additions (e.g. new species) are done through the RLA Coordinator or an especially appointed RLA member (full time or part time); if RLA members are aware of any new species or taxonomic changes that are not in the Red List, please contact the RLA Coordinator. It is important to note that when new taxonomic changes are implemented in SIS, they are always automatically updated on the Red List each time it is launched. If there are no “passed” draft assessments tied to the new taxonomic change, then the new taxonomic arrangement will be associated with the old published assessment, which means that they will be out of sync and will likely have contradictory information. Therefore, it is very important to try to finalize the reassessment of any species already in the Red List which has undergone a recent taxonomic change.
Newly described species that do not have any synonymy associated to them (i.e. have not been called by another name in the past) are straightforward additions to SIS; however, those new species that have been associated to another name in the past require additional attention not only to determine the nature of the taxonomic change, but also because those species that have been associated to that biological population in the past need to be reassessed. In other words, assessments are done on the taxonomic concept associated to specific biological populations; if one of those populations is considered to be a new species, then the taxonomic concept changes, and a reassessment has to be made on the remainder of the populations associated to the existing concept.
Lockdown periods in SIS
Prior to Red List version launches, SIS goes in lockdown mode until the launch date. This lockdown period is generally 4-6 weeks before a Red List launch date, and it means that during this time taxonomic changes in SIS should not be made. Thus, any changes to taxonomy need to be done either before or after these lockdown periods. During lockdown we should avoid making any further edits to any draft assessments that have been submitted for publication – for any urgent last minute edits, please contact the RLA Coordinator who will liaise with the Red List Unit about these.
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