The format for writing scientific names that animals and plants is standardized and also internationally accepted. “Scientific nomenclature” advert to miscellaneous names according to a certain field the study. This short article is the an initial in a collection on scientific nomenclature within specific kingdoms.

You are watching: Scientific names are written in what language

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

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

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

International codes of Nomenclature

Taxonomists have created several “codes” for scientific nomenclature. This codes room universal and are periodically update by consensus. The protocol for naming types was invented in the 1700s by swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus produced the mechanism of “binomial nomenclature,” which offers only 2 designationsgenus and specific epithet as the varieties name.

In the mid-1800s, researchers agreed top top an broadened system of nomenclature. The following codes are used today:

Common names of varieties can differ by geographic region but a global protocol helps prevent ambiguity and also ensures consistency.


Known together the “taxonomic hierarchy,” the system consists of several teams of types based ~ above genetic and phylogenic characteristics. The highest possible level is the “kingdom.” The an initial kingdom comprised only two varieties of life organisms—animals and also plants. We have seven classifications in ~ the kingdom domain—Bacteria, Archaea, Protozoa, Chromista, Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia.

Note that the designations room in Latin. This could be daunting for part who room not familiar with the language; however, the state are worldwide consistent. Over there is no require to analyze them or translate them into one more language.

The levels from greatest to lowest classification are together follows:


Using this system, the gray wolf, because that example, would certainly be figured out 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 is composed of a genus name and particular epithet. The clinical names of types are italicized. The genus surname is always capitalized and is written first; the certain epithet complies with the genus name and also is not capitalized. There is no exception to this.

From above example, keep in mind that the classifications go from basic (Animalia) to specific (C. Lupus). A species, by definition, is the combination of both the genus and particular epithet, not simply the epithet. Because that example, we deserve to use the hatchet gray wolf yet we can not use simply Canis or lupus to describe 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 first mention. Us then pick which to use throughout and also make that consistent.

Gray wolf (Canis lupus) is aboriginal to north America and Eurasia.

In subsequent references, we can use either the usual or scientific name. If we usage the scientific name, we require only to usage the an initial letter of the genus adhered to by a duration and the specific epithet. Because that example:

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

It is additionally common to describe several types under one genus as soon as you desire to suggest out some similar characteristics within a genus. Because that example:

All varieties of Canis are known to it is in moderate to huge and have large skulls.

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

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

In this case, “spp.” is one abbreviation for “several species” (“sp” is the designation for one species) in the genus. One of two people of the above is acceptable. If girlfriend are concentrating on a few species in particular, friend would refer to the species name of every one.

You might additionally see a clinical name followed by an initial or abbreviation. This would signify the human being who discovered or named the species. Because that example, in Amaranthus retroflexus L., the together (not italicized) describes the initial name provided by Linnaeus.


There room a couple of exceptions to few of these rules. First, the whole genus name need to be spelled the end if it begins a sentence, also if a succeeding reference:

Canis lupus was almost hunted come extinction in phibìc America.

Second, when much more than one species has the very same genus initial but come from different genera, the genera names are spelled out to prevent confusion:

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

In this case, it is best to use the usual name ~ the an initial mention, but either format is correct.

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

Titles and Headers

In titles, that is proper to compose the whole scientific surname of animals in uppercase letters. Because that example:

A examine of the history of CANIS LUPUS in north America

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

Canis lupus is nearly die out in phibìc America

Writing scientific Names the Plants

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

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

In the tree kingdom, category after species is subspecies (subsp.) and range (var.). For example, there space three subspecies of 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 couple of or every species, we usage Grevillea spp.

Similar to animal names, that is common to check out a specific epithet that describes a geographical area or the human who discovered it. Because that example, Grevillea victoriae F.Muell. Although these are ideal nouns, they room still composed in lowercase font. Be responsibility that part word processors might attempt to capitalize these references.

This is something to examine when proofreading her text.

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

When writing, the cultivar surname is added after genus or particular epithet and is put in solitary quotes there is no italicization. For example,  

 Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’   Grevillea rosmarinifolia ‘Rosy Posy’


One the the basic rules of scientific writing is consistency. Regardless of your selection of scientific or common name, you must maintain consistency. Always check the author guidelines once preparing manuscripts. Layouts for citations and references, headings, and also section placement deserve to be different. Be assured that the layout for writing clinical names is internationally continuous regardless the the to plan journal. The rules presented over will help.

See more: Sea Salt Soak: How To Clean A Belly Button Piercing With Salt Water

In the next write-up in this series, we will comment on tips on how to write scientific names of bacterial types in a journal manuscript.

You watch that the common name that the varieties you room studying has actually several variations depending on the geographic area. Which perform you use and why? What other obstacles do you confront when using clinical nomenclature? you re welcome share your thoughts through us in the comments ar below.