Recently I stumbled upon the species name Cirrhipathes anguina. In the literature it is often mentioned as Cirrhipathes cfr. anguina. What does cfr. mean? Does it carry the same meaning as cf.?

Edit: If the same, why is cfr. used in this case and not just .cf?

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answers. Given that you answered at the same time and equally well I added another question :) $\endgroup$
    – Stockfisch
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 1:16
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen both cf. and cfr. used in literature. According to Wiktionary, cf. is an abbreviation of the Latin confer whereas cfr. is an abbreviation of the Italian confrontare, both of which mean compare. It's probably just a stylistic choice by the authors, perhaps depending on their country of origin. I doubt you'll get a better answer than the ones given. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 20:18

2 Answers 2


It's the same as cf. Both abbreviate confer-- meaning the specimen has most of the defining features of the species indicated, and the ID would likely be confirmed with comparison to reference material.

Ref: Sigovini, M. et al. 2016. Open nomenclature in the biodiversity era. Methods Ecol Evol. 7: 1217-1225. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12594/abstract

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    $\begingroup$ Whoaa that was a simultaneous post :-) +1 $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 22:26

The Wikipedia page explains cf. as:

In biological naming conventions, cf. is commonly placed between the genus name name and the species name to describe a specimen that is difficult to identify because of practical difficulties, such as the specimen being poorly preserved. For example, "Barbus cf. holotaenia" implies that the specimen is believed to be Barbus holotaenia but the actual identification cannot be certain.

And from Habitas it becomes apparent that cf. is indeed synonymous to cfr., both being abbreviations for confer:

cf., cfr., confer. : Latin, compare (with)

character, taxonomic : any attribute of a member of a taxon by which it differs or may differ from a member of a different taxonomy.

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    $\begingroup$ Yup, it was indeed! Great minds and all that. :) $\endgroup$
    – Kara
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 22:27

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