The style for writing clinical names of animals and also plants is standardized and internationally accepted. “Scientific nomenclature” ad to miscellaneous names according to a particular field the study. This article is the first in a collection on scientific nomenclature within specific kingdoms.

You are watching: A species designation should always include the genus

Usually, animals & plants are determined by common and also scientific names.

Common name: this are provided locally and also may differ by region or country.

Scientific name: these are unique names offered by the scientific neighborhood to accurately and universally determine species.

International codes of Nomenclature

Taxonomists have established several “codes” for scientific nomenclature. This codes space universal and are periodically to update by consensus. The protocol for naming types was invented in the 1700s by sweden botanist Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus developed the mechanism of “binomial nomenclature,” which supplies only two designationsgenus and details epithet as the types name.

In the mid-1800s, researchers agreed ~ above an broadened system of nomenclature. The complying with codes are used today:

Common name of types can vary by geographic region but a universal protocol helps avoid ambiguity and ensures consistency.


Known together the “taxonomic hierarchy,” the system is composed of several teams of species based on genetic and phylogenic characteristics. The highest possible level is the “kingdom.” The first kingdom consisted of only two types of living 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 room in Latin. This can be daunting for some who are not acquainted with the language; however, the terms are around the world consistent. Over there is no need to analyze them or interpret them into an additional language.

The level from highest possible to lowest group are as follows:


Using this system, the gray wolf, because that example, would be identified 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 scientific names of species are italicized. The genus surname is always capitalized and also is written first; the specific epithet follows the genus name and is not capitalized. There is no exception to this.

From over example, keep in mind that the classifications walk from general (Animalia) to specific (C. Lupus). A species, by definition, is the mix of both the genus and particular epithet, not just the epithet. For example, we deserve to use the hatchet gray wolf but we cannot use just Canis or lupus to explain this animal. Canis lupus is a species.

Writing clinical Names that Animals

When writing, we usage both the scientific name and the “common” name on the very first mention. Us then select which to use throughout and also make that consistent.

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

In succeeding references, we can use either the usual or clinical name. If we usage the scientific name, we need only to use the very first letter of the genus complied with by a duration and the certain epithet. For example:

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

It is additionally common to describe several species under one genus when you desire to suggest out some similar characteristics within a genus. For example:

All varieties of Canis are well-known to be moderate to big and have huge skulls.

You could likewise write this same info another way as follows:

Canis spp. are known to be moderate to huge and have huge skulls.

In this case, “spp.” is an abbreviation because that “several species” (“sp” is the designation because that one species) in the genus. Either of the above is acceptable. If you are focusing on a couple of species in particular, girlfriend would refer to the types name of every one.

You might also see a scientific name adhered to by an initial or abbreviation. This would signify the human being who discovered or named the species. For example, in Amaranthus retroflexus L., the together (not italicized) describes the initial name provided by Linnaeus.


There room a few exceptions to few of these rules. First, the entire genus name must be spelled the end if it starts a sentence, also if a succeeding reference:

Canis lupus was virtually hunted to extinction in north America.

Second, when an ext than one varieties has the very same genus initial yet 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 native to phibìc America.

In this case, the is finest to usage the usual name after the very first mention, yet either layout is correct.

Related: Do you have actually questions on manuscript drafting? get personalized answers on the FREE Q&A Forum!

Titles and Headers

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

A examine of the background of CANIS LUPUS in north America

In an italicized header, the species name can be created in non-italic style. For example:

Canis lupus is nearly die out in phibìc America

Writing clinical Names of Plants

Plant names likewise follow binomial nomenclature (similar to pet names).

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

In the tree kingdom, category after species is subspecies (subsp.) and range (var.). For example, there are three subspecies the Grevillea victoriae.

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

When the types of a plant is unknown, a plant deserve to be referred as Grevillea sp.

Moreover, when we jointly want to refer few or all species, we usage Grevillea spp.

Similar to pet names, the is common to view a particular epithet that describes a geographical area or the human being who found it. Because that example, Grevillea victoriae F.Muell. Although this are proper nouns, they space still composed in small letter font. Be responsibility that some word processors could attempt come capitalize this references.

This is other to check when proofreading your text.

Cultivar names space dictated by worldwide Code that Nomenclature for grew Plants

When writing, the cultivar surname is included after genus or certain epithet and also is placed in single quotes there is no italicization. For example,  

 Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’   Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Rosy Posy’


One the the an easy rules of clinical writing is consistency. Regardless of your choice of clinical or usual name, girlfriend must keep consistency. Always check the author guidelines as soon as preparing manuscripts. Formats for citations and also references, headings, and also section placement can be different. Be assured that the style for writing scientific names is internationally constant regardless that the intended journal. The rules presented over will help.

See more: How Far Is The Drive From Seattle To Vancouver, B, Seattle To Vancouver: 7 Things To See On The Road

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

You view that the common name that the varieties you are studying has several variations depending on the geographical area. Which do you use and also why? What other difficulties do you confront when using clinical nomenclature? you re welcome share her thoughts with us in the comments section below.