A proposed best practice approach to overcome unverified and unverifiable “first records” in ichthyology
We propose here a best practice protocol to be followed by prospective authors of first record notes; it was prompted by the publication in scientific journals of several erroneous “first records”. This includes accurate checking of available regional fish diversity catalogues; designation and deposit of voucher specimen(s) in curated collections with proper information; inclusion of photograph(s), meristic and morphometric characters, and, whenever possible, DNA sequences (Barcoding) of the specimen(s). Examples are taken from the Mediterranean Sea. The responsibility of both scientific editors and reviewers in the publication process of first records is also discussed.