View Full Version : Use of the word "caudate"

19th November 2004, 08:23
Is "caudate" an accepted word? When I met with some Japanese herpetologists recently, I began to feel silly saying "caudates" as nobody else used the term. Should the appropriate word that lumps salamanders and newts together be "urodele/urodeles"? What's the background behind the coexistence of the two terms "Caudata" and "Urodela"? http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/smile6.gif

19th November 2004, 15:26
I have see both used. I was first exposed to the usage of caudate at the 1995 SSAR meeting there. There were a number of formal and informal talks that used the word caudate which I think (since I am not a language specialist) is a slang usage. That said, it appears to me that caudate is used more frequently in the USA and urodele is more common elsewhere.

From Biology of Amphibians page 495, top left column, second sentence " The substitute ordinal name Urodela dating from Latreille 1825, commonly used in place of Caudata.

From Herpetology An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles page 4, 1st column, second topic 1st paragraph, 10th sentence,
"The salamanders, labeled with the node-based name Caudata (= "having tail") and the stem-based name Urodela (= "tail visible"), have cylindrical bodies,......"
I am not the best at systematics so maybe someone else can explain the difference between node based and stem based if necessary.


19th November 2004, 16:09
Tim: Both Caudata and Urodela are appropriate. And yes, caudate is a perfectly acceptable term, except perhaps for some of the old fogeys and fuddy-duddys around here (you know who you are) http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/lol.gif

To me, it's always seemed to be a New World vs. Old World issue, and perhaps also a bit of an english vs. everyone else problem. I would add that all Central/South American spanish-speaking researchers I've talked with, also use Caudata so it's not purely english.

20th November 2004, 01:42
I'm the old fogey Nate's talking about. I don't like the term "caudate" but it is everywhere now.

20th November 2004, 09:15
i've always thought that caudate meant any animal with a backbone or spinal cord. e.g sponges are caudates but not vertebrates, vertebrates are a sub phylum.

20th November 2004, 09:35
I came across this:

"While the terms Caudata and Urodela are usually used interchangeably, some authors have suggested using Urodela to describe only extant forms, while retaining Caudata as the more inclusive group including all known extant and fossil species."

Source: Animal Diversity Web


20th November 2004, 09:44
And then there's this:

"Superorder CAUDATA Oppel, 1811

(salamanders and caecilians are sometimes united in this superorder, based largely on similarity in vertebral structure; alternatively, Urodela is considered the Order for extant families by some, with fossil taxa combined with Urodeles into this one superorder, leaving caecilians a separate entity)"

[prepared by M. J. Fouquette, Jr., for use in the Herpetology course (BIO 474) at Arizona State University.]


20th November 2004, 09:50
very interesting

20th November 2004, 17:11
Will, I think you are confusing "Chordata" and "Caudata". Chordata is a phylum characterized by animals with (1) gill slits, (2) a notochord, (3) a dorsal nerve cord, and (4) a tail that extends past the anus. Vertebrates are chordates, but not all chordates are vertebrates. Sponges are neither, being in the phylum Porifera, a basal group of animals.

20th November 2004, 17:15
oh, maybe i'm just confused http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/sick.gif