What is the right name?

What is the right name?

I get this a lot from the non-taxonomist side of this site's audience. The short answer is I'm sure the name you are using is in the ASW database, although sometimes as a junior synonym, which doesn't mean it is either right or wrong since you may have stepped into an area of taxonomic controversy. But, regardless of the rhetoric from some quarters, these days no one has to be confused about names, since amphibian synonymies are substantially complete and in a searchable database. For this reason I won't lose any sleep over what name you use in your publications as long as it is a species or, if a higher taxon, is monophyletic, is a name your community uses, and actually is correctly applied. (This means that calling something Rana pipiens from anywhere south of the USA, outside of the known range, is an error.) That is why we have nomenclatural databases. 

If you are using a name that you don't immediately find by browsing in ASW, the ASW database has powerful search capabilities. Go to BASIC SEARCH on the top left of the splash page. Enter a genus and species name with the Boolean operator AND (ex: Bufo AND copei) and ASW will return a list of discovered records. At the top of the list is the species name as currently applied in ASW to your species (in this example: Anaxyrus americanus) that contains your name in the synonymy. 

If you want to use ASW to search Google for a particular species (e.g,  Anaxyrus americanus), go to the bottom of the relevant taxon page and use that link to search. The search grammar for that link uses recent synonyms to allow for a broad net to be cast without picking up all sorts of old names that mostly are imbedded in literature that will be interpreted incorrectly by taxonomically naive users.