The format for writing scientific names the animals and plants is standardized and internationally accepted. “Scientific nomenclature” advert to various names follow to a specific field the study. This post is the first in a collection on scientific nomenclature within certain kingdoms.

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Usually, animals & tree are established by common and scientific names.

Common name: these are supplied locally and may differ by region or country.

Scientific name: these are distinctive names provided by the scientific ar to accurately and universally recognize species.

International password of Nomenclature

Taxonomists have developed several “codes” for clinical nomenclature. This codes room universal and are periodically to update by consensus. The protocol because that naming varieties was designed in the 1700s by sweden botanist Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus developed the device of “binomial nomenclature,” which provides only 2 designationsgenus and certain epithet together the species name.

In the mid-1800s, scientists agreed ~ above an expanded system that nomenclature. The following codes are provided today:

Common names of species can differ by geographic region but a universal protocol helps protect against ambiguity and ensures consistency.


Known as the “taxonomic hierarchy,” the system consists of several groups of species based top top genetic and phylogenic characteristics. The greatest level is the “kingdom.” The first kingdom consisted of only two types of life organisms—animals and plants. We have actually seven classifications in ~ the kingdom domain—Bacteria, Archaea, Protozoa, Chromista, Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia.

Note that the designations are in Latin. This could be an overwhelming for some who room not acquainted with the language; however, the state are internationally consistent. There is no need to translate them or analyze them into another language.

The levels from highest possible to lowest group are together follows:


Using this system, the gray wolf, because that example, would certainly be established as follows:

Domain: Eukarya.Kingdom: Animalia.Phylum: Chordata.Class: Mammalia.Order: Carnivora.Suborder: Caniformia.Family: Canidae.Genus: Canis.Species: lupus.

Binomial Name

The binomial name consists of a genus surname and details epithet. The clinical names of types are italicized. The genus surname is constantly capitalized and also is written first; the particular epithet adheres to the genus name and is not capitalized. There is no exemption to this.

From above example, note that the classifications walk from general (Animalia) to certain (C. Lupus). A species, by definition, is the combination of both the genus and certain epithet, not simply the epithet. Because that example, we have the right to use the hatchet gray wolf but we can not use simply Canis or lupus to define this animal. Canis lupus is a species.

Writing clinical Names of Animals

When writing, we usage both the clinical name and the “common” surname on the very first mention. We then choose which to use throughout and also make that consistent.

Gray wolf (Canis lupus) is indigenous to phibìc America and also Eurasia.

In subsequent references, we have the right to use one of two people the typical or clinical name. If we usage the clinical name, we require only to use the first letter of the genus complied with by a duration and the details epithet. Because that example:

In north America, the gray wolf was nearly hunted come extinction.In phibìc America, C. Lupus was nearly hunted to extinction.

It is likewise common to describe several species under one genus once you desire to allude out some comparable characteristics within a genus. Because that example:

All species of Canis are recognized to be moderate to large and have large skulls.

You could additionally write this same info another means as follows:

Canis spp. are well-known to be moderate to large and have large skulls.

In this case, “spp.” is an abbreviation for “several species” (“sp” is the designation for one species) in the genus. One of two people of the over is acceptable. If friend are focusing on a couple of species in particular, friend would describe the varieties name of each one.

You might additionally see a scientific name adhered to by an initial or abbreviation. This would signify the human being who discovered or called the species. Because that example, in Amaranthus retroflexus L., the l (not italicized) refers to the original name given by Linnaeus.


There are a few exceptions to some of these rules. First, the entire genus name need to be spelled the end if it begins a sentence, even if a subsequent reference:

Canis lupus was practically hunted to extinction in phibìc America.

Second, when more than one varieties has the same genus initial however come from various genera, the genera names space spelled the end to avoid confusion:

Both the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the beaver (Castor canadensis) are aboriginal to phibìc America.

In this case, that is ideal to use the common name after the first mention, however either format is correct.

Related: Do you have questions ~ above manuscript drafting? acquire personalized answers on the FREE Q&A Forum!

Titles and also Headers

In titles, it is proper to write the entire scientific surname of pets in uppercase letters. For example:

A research of the history of CANIS LUPUS in phibìc America

In one italicized header, the species name deserve to be created in non-italic style. Because that example:

Canis lupus is nearly extinct in north America

Writing scientific Names of Plants

Plant names additionally follow binomial nomenclature (similar to animal names).

Royal grevillea (Grevillea victoriae) is discovered in brand-new South Wales and Victoria.

In the plant kingdom, group after varieties is subspecies (subsp.) and range (var.). Because that example, there room three subspecies the Grevillea victoriae.

 Grevillea victoriae subsp. victoriaeGrevillea victoriae subsp. nivalis Grevillea victoriae subsp. brindabella

When the species of a tree is unknown, a plant have the right to be referred together Grevillea sp.

Moreover, when we jointly want come refer few or every species, we use Grevillea spp.

Similar to pet names, that is typical to watch a certain epithet that refers to a geographical area or the human being who uncovered it. Because that example, Grevillea victoriae F.Muell. Although these are ideal nouns, they space still written in small letter font. Be mindful that some word processors could attempt to capitalize this references.

This is other to check when proofreading her text.

Cultivar names room dictated by worldwide Code that Nomenclature for cultivated Plants

When writing, the cultivar name is added after genus or particular epithet and also is put in solitary quotes without italicization. Because that example,  

 Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’   Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Rosy Posy’


One of the an easy rules of scientific writing is consistency. Regardless of your selection of clinical or typical name, you must keep consistency. Constantly check the writer guidelines once preparing manuscripts. Formats for citations and also references, headings, and section placement have the right to be different. It is in assured the the format for writing scientific names is internationally consistent regardless that the intended journal. The rule presented above will help.

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In the next article in this series, we will discuss tips on exactly how to write clinical names that bacterial species in a journal manuscript.

You watch that the common name that the species you room studying has several variations depending on the geographic area. Which execute you use and why? What other challenges do you challenge when using clinical nomenclature? you re welcome share your thoughts with us in the comments ar below.