new species

A species description or type description is a formal description of a newly discovered species, usually in the form of a scientific paper. Its purpose is to give a clear description of a new species of organism and explain how it differs from species which have been described previously, or are related. The species description also contains photographs or other illustrations of the type material and explains in which museums the holotype (and other types such as paratypes) have been deposited. The publication in which the species is described gives the new species a formal scientific name. Today, some 1.9 million species have been discovered and named and some 8.7 million may actually exist on Earth. It is customary for scientists to introduce all relevant new findings and research in a scientific paper, which is scrutinised by other scientists (peer review) and, if accepted, published in a scientific journal of the appropriate discipline; this applies to the discovery and naming of a new species or other taxon. In many cases the scientific community will not formally accept the existence of a new species until a species description has been published, even when it may seem obvious that the species is indeed new.