Rana viridis Garsault, 1764

Dubois, Alain & Bour, Roger, 2010, The nomenclatural status of the nomina of amphibians and reptiles created by Garsault (1764), with a parsimonious solution to an old nomenclatural problem regarding the genus Bufo (Amphibia, Anura), comments on the taxonomy of this genus, and comments on some nomina created by Laurenti (1768), Zootaxa 2447, pp. 1-52 : 27-28

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https://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.195113

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Rana viridis Garsault, 1764


Rana viridis Garsault, 1764

The plate 671 of Garsault (1764) shows his Rana viridis or “Grenouille verte”. For the reasons discussed above in the Nomenclatural methodology, we consider that the generic nomen Rana is simply that of Linnaeus (1758: 196). The plate shows an apparently adult specimen (presumably male) on land, a male and a female in copula in water, and a tadpole in water. These specimens are altogether symphoronts (syntypes) of this nominal species. In order to avoid potential ambiguities due to the fact that the tadpole cannot be allocated to a species or even to a genus, we hereby designate the female specimen shown in amplexus, now lost, as the lectophoront (lectotype) of the nomen Rana viridis Garsault, 1764 . The drawings on this plate are not of good quality, especially if compared with other drawings of Garsault, but nevertheless they clearly apply to the group of “green frogs” or “water frogs”, currently referred to Pelophylax Fitzinger, 1843 (family RANIDAE Rafinesque-Schmaltz, 1814 ), a taxon considered by some (e.g., Dubois 1992, 1998, 2005 b; Dubois & Ohler 1995) as a subgenus of Rana Linnaeus, 1758 , and by others (e.g., Fei et al. 1990; Frost et al. 2006; Speybroeck & Crochet 2007; Lescure 2008; Bour et al. 2008) as a distinct genus.

Two taxa of green frogs at least were present in the Paris region in historical times. The first one is a species, currently known as Pelophylax lessonae ( Camerano, 1882) , and the second one is a klepton (see Dubois & Günther 1982; Dubois 2008 b, 2009 c), currently known as Pelophylax kl. esculentus ( Linnaeus, 1758). Other taxa of green frogs, including Pelophylax ridibundus ( Pallas, 1771) and triploid hybrids of uncertain taxonomic status ( Polls Pelaz 1991, 1994), were found in this region in the recent decades, but they might result from transportation and introduction by man, so it seems more reasonable and preferable to consider that the frogs observed by Garsault (1764) belonged in one of the first two taxa listed above.

Although simple morphometric characters measured on specimens allow a good distinction between the two taxa esculentus and lessonae ( Berger 1964, 1966, 1970), they cannot be applied here because the frogs shown on the figure stand at an oblique angle, and cannot be measured even roughly, not been orthogonal relative to the observer (see Hayek et al. 2001). Nevertheless, the hind legs of the three adults shown in this plate appear rather long, more similar to those of esculentus than those of lessonae . Besides, the spotted dorsums of the two males remind more esculentus than breeding males of lessonae which usually are little spotted. Finally, the amplecting female shows no dark lines on the flanks, whereas such lines are usually wellmarked in lessonae females. These characters tend to support allocation of the nomen Rana viridis Garsault, 1764 to the synonymy of Rana esculenta Linnaeus, 1758 . The last character mentioned is probably the most reliable one, which explains our choice of lectophoront.

There is a second reason for adopting this interpretation. If this nomen was referred to the synonymy of Rana esculenta var. lessonae Camerano, 1882 , it would have priority over the latter, that has been in wide use in the literature in hundreds of publications. Validation of the latter nomen would then require to make use of Article 23.9. 1 of the Code. On the other hand, if Rana viridis Garsault, 1764 is sunk in the synonymy of Rana esculenta Linnaeus, 1758 , it does not create any nomenclatural problem. So we here adopt provisionally the latter solution. This allows to place this nomen in synonymy, but it is provisional as based only on interpretations that could be challenged by other colleagues. In order for it to become definitive, a female specimen of Pelophylax kl. esculentus from the Paris region will have to be described and designated as neophoront of Rana viridis Garsault, 1764 .

The nomen Rana viridis Garsault, 1764 is a senior hadromonym (primary homonym) and doxisonym of Rana viridis Duméril & Bibron, 1841 , an invalid junior isonym of Rana esculenta Linnaeus, 1758 (see Dubois & Ohler 1995: 160).