ICZN is short for International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
What they do
ICZN was founded in 1895. Its task is to create, publish and, periodically, to revise the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The Commission also considers and rules on specific cases of nomenclatural uncertainty. These rulings are published as 'Opinions' in the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature.
ICZN provides and regulates a uniform system of zoological nomenclature ensuring that every animal has a unique and universally accepted scientific name.
The maintenance of international standards in animal nomenclature is the unique role of the Commission. It is not the role of the Commission to become involved in taxonomic issues except where they have nomenclatural implications.
The Commission currently comprises 22 members from 18 countries. The work of the Commission is supported by a small Secretariat based at the Natural History Museum in London.
Several million species of animals are recognised, and more than 2000 new genus names and 15000 new species names are added to the zoological literature every year. With so many names, problems are bound to occur. The Commission operates through its quarterly journal, The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, in which problems needing a formal decision by the Commission are published for discussion by the zoological community.
- ICZN publishes the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature containing the rules universally accepted as governing the application of scientific names to all organisms which are treated as animals.
- ICZN provides rulings on individual nomenclatural problems brought to its attention, in order to achieve internationally acceptable solutions and stability.
International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature
Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD
tel.: +44(0)20 7942 5653
e-mail: iczn (at) nhm (dot) ac (dot) uk