As Alaska’s Natural Heritage program, we collect information on what species occur in the state so that we can assess which ones are of conservation concern. The idea for a synonymized checklist arose after struggling to reconcile old taxonomic names that we encountered when poring over reference books, reports, and conservation plans. We quickly discovered that we weren’t alone in this struggle, and that biologists working in Alaska needed a way to keep track of taxonomic changes.
In 2021, we compiled an initial checklist of accepted names using lists from the University of Alaska Museum Birds, University of Alaska Museum Mammals, and the Amphibians and Reptiles of Alaska (MacDonald 2010). We then reconciled this list with recently published to populate invalid names, including spelling variants and junior synonyms. Over time, we’ve added additional invalid names as we’ve encountered them in the literature.
In creating this checklist, we hope to help you:
- Resolve some of the confusion you may be feeling.
- Stay current on taxonomic changes.
- Have a starting point until a comprehensive, synonymized checklist becomes available.
The invalid names that we’ve included are not meant to be an exhaustive list. Instead, they’re a collection of names that we’ve encountered during our research. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Avibase (birds) and the Mammals of Diversity Database (mammals) are more comprehensive, however, the names they include have not necessarily been applied to Alaska populations.
At the moment, every non-accepted name is labeled as “invalid”, regardless of whether it results from a taxonomic split, a corrected spelling, or a change in genus. In the future, we hope to collaborate with taxonomic experts who can help us refine how we label these names.
The Fauna of Alaska doesn’t currently include infraspecies such as subspecies or populations. I recommend consulting NatureServe Explorer (all taxa), Avibase (birds), and MacDonald and Cook’s Recent Mammals of Alaska.
We do not include taxa whose occurrences are unsubstantiated in Alaska. A list of birds can be found in the Checklist of Alaska Birds, which is published by the University of Alaska Museum.
|1||Chesser et al. 2022||Chesser, R. T., S. M. Billerman, K. J. Burns, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, B. E. Hernandez-Banos, ..., and K. Winker. 2022. Sixty-third Supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds. Ornithology 139(3):ukac020. https://doi.org/10.1093/ornithology/ukac020|
|2||Chesser et al. 2023||Chesser, R. T., S. M. Billerman, K. J. Burns, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, B. E. Hernandez-Banos, ..., and K. Winker. 2023. Sixty-fourth Supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds. Ornithology 140(3):ukad023. https://doi.org/10.1093/ornithology/ukad023|
|3||Colella et al. 2021||Colella, J. P., L. M. Frederick, S. L. Talbot, and J. A. Cook. 2021. Extrinsically reinforced hybrid speciation within Holarctic ermine (Mustela spp.) produces an insular endemic. Diversity and Distributions 27(4):747–762. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13234|
|4||Gibson et al. 2023||Gibson, D. D., S. C. Heinl, T. G. Tobish Jr., A. J. Lang, J. J. Withrow, L. H. DeCicco, N. R. Hajdukovich, and R. L. Scher. 2023. Checklist of Alaska Birds. 29th edition. Alaska Checklist Committee, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA. Available: https://www.universityofalaskamuseumbirds.org|
|6||Hope et al. 2023||Hope, A. G., K. M. Headlee, Z. H. Olson, and B. J. Wiens. 2023. Systematics, biogeography and phylogenomics of northern bog lemmings (Cricetidae), cold-temperate rodents of conservation concern under global change. Systematics and Biodiversity 21(1):2237050.|
|5||Hope et al. 2020||Hope, A. G., R. B. Stephens, S. D. Mueller, V. V. Tkach, and J. R. Demboski. 2020. Speciation of North American pygmy shrews (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae) supports spatial but not temporal congruence of diversification among boreal species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 129(1):41–60.|
|7||Krystufek et al. 2020||Krystufek, B., A. S. Tesakov, V. S. Lebedev, A. A. Bannikova, N. I. Abramson, and G. Shenbrot. 2020. Back to the future: the proper name for red-backed voles is Clethrionomys Tilesius and not Myodes Pallas. Mammalia 84(2):214–217. https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2019-0067|
|8||Lepage et al. 2014||Lepage D, Vaidya G, Guralnick R. 2014. Avibase - A database system for managing and organizing taxonomic concepts. ZooKeys 135:117–135.|
|10||MacDonald 2010||MacDonald, S. O. 2010. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Alaska: A Field Handbook. Version 2.0. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USA. Available: https://faunaofalaska.org/wp-content/uploads/MacDonald_2010_Amphibians_and_Reptiles_of_Alaska.pdf|
|9||MDD 2021||Mammal Diversity Database. 2021. Mammal Diversity Database. Version 1.5. Available: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4139818|