10th edition of Systema Naturae

Title page of the 10th edition of Systema Naturae

The 10th edition of Systema Naturae is a book written by Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus and published in two volumes in 1758 and 1759, which marks the starting point of zoological nomenclature. In it, Linnaeus introduced binomial nomenclature for animals, something he had already done for plants in his 1753 publication of Species Plantarum.

Starting point

Before 1758, most biological catalogues had used polynomial names for the taxa included, including earlier editions of Systema Naturae. The first work to consistently apply binomial nomenclature across the animal kingdom was the 10th edition of Systema Naturae. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature therefore chose 1 January 1758 as the "starting point" for zoological nomenclature, and asserted that the 10th edition of Systema Naturae was to be treated as if published on that date.[1] Names published before that date are unavailable, even if they would otherwise satisfy the rules. The only work which takes priority over the 10th edition is Carl Alexander Clerck's Svenska Spindlar or Aranei Suecici, which was published in 1757, but is also to be treated as if published on January 1, 1758.[1]