The 19th-century reports on the occurrence and identity of wild asses in North-East Africa are reviewed, as well as the names applied in various publications by Fitzinger and von Heuglin, respectively. The first published name for the African wild ass, Asinus africanus Fitzinger, 1858, is a nomen nudum. The name Equus taeniopus von Heuglin, 1861 is rejected as indeterminable, as it is based on an animal that cannot be identified and may have been a hybrid between a domestic donkey and a Somali wild ass; the type has not been preserved. The first available name thus becomes Asinus africanus von Heuglin & Fitzinger, 1866. A lectotype is designated: a skull of an adult female collected by von Heuglin near Atbara River, Sudan, and present in the Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart, MNS 32026. A review of taxonomic and nomenclatural actions by later authors is given. The two subspecies recognized are the Nubian wild ass Equus a. africanus (von Heuglin & Fitzinger, 1866), and the Somali wild ass E. a. somaliensis (Noack, 1884).

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Zoologische Mededelingen

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Naturalis journals & series

Groves, C. P., & Smeenk, C. (2007). The nomenclature of the African wild ass. Zoologische Mededelingen, 81, 121–135.