Historic and valid designations within the Staphylococcus genus reflecting the early dualism concept of pathogenic versus nonpathogenic staphylococci

Yr“Pathogenic” species“Nonpathogenic” speciesAuthor of description (reference)
1884 Staphylococcus (pyogenes) aureus a Staphylococcus (pyogenes) albus b Rosenbach (8)
1896 Micrococcus pyogenes aureus Micrococcus pyogenes albus Lehmann and Neumann (610)
1908 Aurococcus aureus c Albococcus epidermidis d Winslow and Winslow (11)
1916 Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus epidermidis Evans (611)
1940 Staphylococcus pyogenes e Staphylococcus saprophyticus e , f Fairbrother (12)
1980 Staphylococcus aureus Staphylococcus epidermidis Skerman et al. g (612)
  • a In 1885, a lemon-colored species, designated Staphylococcus (pyogenes) citreus, was described by J. Passet (613).

  • b The pus-derived “albus” variant was probably rather a less or nonpigmented S. aureus isolate, as its pathogenicity was proven by Rosenbach via animal experiments (8). Later on, “S. epidermidis albus” was described by U.S. pathologist W. H. Welch, in 1891, as a colonizer of the human epidermis found also in aseptic wounds (10).

  • c Described as a “parasitic coccus, living normally on the surface of the human or animal body, or in diseased tissues” (11).

  • d Described as a “parasitic coccus, living normally on the surfaces of the human or animal body” (11).

  • e After the introduction of coagulase production as the major principle to differentiate staphylococcal species by Fairbrother (12).

  • f S. saprophyticus was used in a broader sense to designate nonpathogenic coagulase-negative staphylococci.

  • g Still valid definitions of the taxa S. aureus and S. epidermidis, together with other staphylococcal species described until this point, by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Judicial Commission of the ICSB (612).