Amphibia in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae

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In the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, Carl Linnaeus described the Amphibia as:[1]

Animals that are distinguished by a body cold and generally naked; stern and expressive countenance; harsh voice; mostly lurid color; filthy odor; a few are furnished with a horrid poison; all have cartilaginous bones, slow circulation, exquisite sight and hearing, large pulmonary vessels, lobate liver, oblong thick stomach, and cystic, hepatic, and pancreatic ducts: they are deficient in diaphragm, do not transpire (sweat), can live a long time without food, are tenatious of life, and have the power of reproducing parts which have been destroyed or lost; some undergo a metamorphosis; some cast (shed) their skin; some appear to live promiscuously on land or in the water, and some are torpid during the winter.

Linnaean characteristics[1]

  • Heart: 1 auricle, 1 ventricle. Cold, dark red blood
  • Lungs: breathes uncertainly
  • Jaw: incumbent
  • Penis: (frequently) double
  • Eggs: (usually) membranaceous
  • Organs of Sense: tongue, nostrils, eyes, ears
  • Covering: a naked skin
  • Supports: various, in some none. Creeps in warm places and hisses

Linnaeus often regarded reptiles within the amphibian class because living in Sweden, he often noticed that the local reptiles (examples include the common adder and grass snake) would hunt and be active in the water.

In the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, Linnaeus included several species of fishes (that do not belong the superclass Osteichthyes) into the amphibian class. It was not until later on that he would merge them into the Fish class and give them their own new order "Chondropterygious", defining them as species with cartilaginous gills.

Linnaeus divided the amphibians based upon the limb structures and the way they breathed.[2]


The European pond turtle was named Testudo orbicularis and Testudo lutaria in 1758.
Testudo (turtles & tortoises)
Draco (gliding lizards)
The Carolina anole was named Lacerta principalis in 1758.
The Sand Lizard was named Lacerta agilis in 1758.
The Smooth Newt was named Lacerta vulgaris, Lacerta palustris and Lacerta aquatica in 1758.
The Common Chameleon, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, was named Lacerta chameleon in 1758.
Lacerta (terrestrial lizards, salamanders, & crocodilians)
The Common Frog was named Rana temporaria in 1758.
Rana (frogs & toads)[Note 1]


[Note 2]

The South American Rattlesnake was named Crotalus durissus in 1758.
Crotalus (rattlesnakes)
Boa (boas)
Vipera ammodytes was named Coluber ammodytes in 1758.
Vipera berus was named Coluber berus in 1758.
Vipera aspis was named Coluber aspis in 1758.
The northern water snake, Nerodia sepodon, was named Coluber sepodon in 1758.
Lycodon aulicus was named Coluber aulicus in 1758.
The Indian cobra was named Coluber naja in 1758.
Leptophis ahaetulla was named Coluber ahaetulla in 1758.
Coluber (racers, vipers & cobras)
The slowworm was named Anguis fragilis in 1758.
Anguis (slowworms & worm snakes)
The red worm lizard was named Amphisbaena alba in 1758.
Amphisbaena (worm lizards)
Caecilia (caecilians)


The European river lamprey was named Petromyzon fluviatilis and Petromyzon branchialis in 1758.
Petromyzon (lampreys)
Raja (rays)
The spiny dogfish was named Squalus acanthias in 1758.
Squalus (sharks)
Chimaera (ratfishes)
Lophius (anglerfishes)
Acipenser (sturgeons)


  1. ^ Except for Rana marginata, the modern identities of all Linnaeus' names in Rana are taken from Kitchell & Dundee (1994).[5]
  2. ^ The modern identities of all Linnaeus' Serpentes taxa (genera Crotalus, Boa (except Boa scytale), Coluber, Anguis, Amphisbaena and Caecilia) are taken from Kitchell & Dundee (1994).[5]


  1. ^ a b Carl von Linné (Translated from GMELIN'S last Edition of the Celebrated SYSTEMA NATURAE, ... AMENDED AND ENLARGED BY THE IMPROVEMENTS AND DISCOVERIES OF LATER NATURALISTS AND SOCIETIES, ... By William Turton) (1800). Volume 1. A general system of nature: through the three grand kingdoms of animals, vegetables, and minerals, systematically divided into their several classes, orders, genera, species, and varieties. London: Lackington, Allen, and Co. p. 638.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Anders G. J. Rhodin; James F. Parham; Peter Paul van Dijk; John B. Iverson (2009). "Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy and Synonymy, 2009 Update, with Conservation Status Summary" (PDF). In A. G. J. Rhodin; P. P. van Dijk; R. A. Sumure; K. A. Buhlmann; J. B. Iverson; R. A. Mittermeier (eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises. Chelonian Research Monographs. 5. pp. 000.39–000.41. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v2.2009. ISBN 0-9653540-9-1.
  4. ^ Anders G. J. Rhodin; John L. Carr (2009). "A quarter millenium of uses and misuses of the turtle name Testudo scabra: identification of the type specimens of T. scabra Linnaeus 1758 (= Rhinoclemmys punctularia) and T. scripta Thunberg in Schoepff 1792 (= Trachemys scripta scripta)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2226: 1–18.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an Kenneth Kitchell, Jr.; Harold A. Dundee (1994). "A trilogy on the herpetology of Linnaeus's Systema Naturae X" (PDF). Smithsonian Herpetological Information Service. 100: 1–61.
  6. ^ "Anolis carolinensis Voigt, 1832'" at the Encyclopedia of Life
  7. ^ Marinus Steven Hoogmoed; Jean Lescure (1975). "An annotated checklist of the lizards of French Guinea, mainly based on two recent collections" (PDF). Zoologische Mededelingen. 49 (13): 141–171.
  8. ^ Anthony P. Russell; Aaron M. Bauer (1991). "Anolis garmani". Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (PDF).
  9. ^ Trachycephalus typhonius in Darrel Frost (2017). Amphibian Species of the World 6.0, an Online Reference
  10. ^ Lavilla, Langone, Caramaschi, Heyer & de Sá (2010). "The identification of Rana ocellata Linnaeus, 1758. Nomenclatural impact on the species currently known as Leptodactylus ocellatus (Leptodactylidae) and Osteopilus brunneus (Gosse, 1851) (Hylidae)". Zootaxa. 2346: 1–16.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (1962). "Opinion 623: Regina Baird & Girard, 1853 (Reptilia): designation of a type-species under the plenary powers". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 19 (3): 145–147.
  12. ^ Arthur Loveridge (1929). "East African Reptiles and Amphibians in the United States National Museum". Bulletin of the United States National Museum. 151: 1–135. doi:10.5479/si.03629236.151.1.