Typified names:

Spectra Latreille 1802

NOMEN: Spectra Latreille 1802: 271 [P.A. Latreille. Histoire naturelle, générale et particuliere des Crustacés et des Insectes. T.3, 1802]

ORIGINAL LISTED MEMBERSHIP (Latreille 1802): Phyllium + Phasma


= Ambulatoria Westwood 1839

= Phasmoptera Jeannel 1947

= Phasmatoptera Beier 1955

= Cheleutopteroidea Kevan 1976


= Euphasmatodea ?Martynova 1962


TYPIFIED NAMES IN USE: Spectridia (ex Spectrum Rafinesque 1915, nomen nudum); Phasmida, Phasmodea, Phasmidae, Phasminae, Phasmidi, Phasmoidea, Phasmaria, Phasmatodea, Phasmatoda, Phasmataria, et al.

MODERN STATUS:  the valid, the oldest name of a generally accepted, holophyletic taxon.

Kluge 2010 BioNomina Dual-Nom :

Some authors call the taxon that consists of stick- and leaf-insects, “Cheleutopteraˮ. However, the name Cheleutoptera Crampton 1915 was originally used to refer to an order where only the stick-like members were placed, while the leaf-like ones, such as Phyllium, were placed to Phylloptera Crampton 1915. Thus, the name Cheleutoptera cannot be applied to any taxon that includes the leaf-insects.

Spectra Latreille 1802 is the oldest name whose original circumscription fits this taxon. Latreille (1802) divided his family Mantides into two divisions: Spectra (with genera Phyllium and Phasma) and Raptoriae (with genus Mantis).

Semantically, the names Spectra and Phasma are identical: ‘spectra’ is plural for ‘spectrum’, which is the Latin translation of the Greek φασμα (phasma).

The name Spectra is unavailable in typified nomenclature, and can thus be used as a non-typified circumscriptional name. The generic name Spectrum Stoll 1787 was originally applied to a group (genus) consisting of all the stick- and leaf-insects and named ‘spectres’ (plural of ‘spectrum’) in French (Stoll 1787). The generic name Spectrum is unavailable, being a junior homonym of Spectrum Scopoli 1777; accordingly, its plural form cannot be available as typified family-group name. Lichtenstein (1796) proposed a new generic name, Phasma, to replace Stoll’s Spectrum. Introducing the name Spectra, Latreille did not derive it from the generic name Spectrum; so the name Spectra should be regarded non-typified (not based on the generic name Spectrum) and have the authorship ‘Latreille 1802’, not ‘Stoll 1787’.

The names Ambulatoria Westwood 1839, Phasmoptera Schwanwitsch 1949, and Phasmatoptera Beier 1955 are junior circumscriptional synonyms of Spectra, and can be used as valid for the taxon consisting of all stick- and leaf-insects if priority is not an issue.

The name Phasma Lichtenstein 1796 is an available genus-group name and the oldest valid generic name among stick- and leaf-insects. The oldest family-group name based thereon is Phasmida Leach 1815. However, ICZN (1964) Opinion 716 states that the family name should be Phasmatidae, not Phasmidae, and misattributes the authorship of the family-group name to Gray 1835. Since the Commission had not suppressed family-group names formed from Phasma prior to 1835, the Leach’s family name Phasmida should be deemed available, and all typified names based on Phasma should thus bear the formal authorship ‘Leach 1815’. So, in the typified nomenclature the taxon consisting of stick- and leaf-insects can be named Phasmida, Phasmatida, Phasmatodea, Phasmatoda, Phasmataria, etc., in each case with Leach 1815 authorship. Since the circumscriptional nomenclature is independent from typified nomenclature, the circumscriptional name Spectra Latreille 1802 and the typified name Phasmida Leach 1815 do not compete for priority, each being the oldest in its nomenclature.


Beier M. 1955–1959. Embioidea und Orthopteroidea (1955–1959). Dr. H. G. Bronns Klassen und Ordungen des Tierreichs, Bd. 5, Abt. 3, Buch 6, Lf. 1–5: 1–970.

Crampton G.C. 1915. The thoracic sclerites and the systematic position of Grylloblatta campodieformis Walker, a remarkable annectant, “Orthopteroid” insect. // Entomological News, 26 (10): 337–350.

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature 1964. Opinion 716. // Bulletin of zoological Nomenclature 21: 420–421.

Latreille P.A. 1802–1805. Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des Crustacés et des Insectes. Tomes 1–14. Paris.

Leach W.E. 1815. Classification. // In: D. Brewster, Edinburgh Encyclopedia, vol. 9, Entomology: 76–162.

Lichtenstein A.A.H. 1796. Catalogus musei zoologici ditissimi Hamburgi d. III. Februar 1796. Auctionis lege distrahendi. Sectio tertia contines Insecta. Hamburg (Gottlieb Friedrich Schniebes): 1–224.

Schwanwitsch B.N. 1949. Kurs obschey entomologii [General entomology]. Moscow & Leningrad (Sovetskaya Nauka): 1–900. [In Russian].

Stoll C. 1787. Natuurlyke en naar’t Leeven naauwkeurig gekleurde Afbeeldingen en Beschryvingen der Spooken, wandelende Bladen, Zabelspringhaanen, Krekels, Treksprinkhaanen en Kakkerlakken: in alle vier deelen der waereld Europa, Asia, Afrika en Amerika huishoudende, by een versammelt en beschreeven door Caspar Stoll. (Représentation exactement colorée d’après nature des spectres, des mantes, des sauterelles, des grillons, des criquets et des blattes). Amsterdam (J.C. Sepp): 1–28.

Westwood J. O. 1839–1840. An introduction to the modern classification of Insects. Volumes 1–2. London.