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Scientific Names of Plants and Animals

Scientific Names of Plants and Animals

What is Nomenclature?

Nomenclature is defined as the system of naming organisms with a scientific name. Animals and plants are called by different names across the globe. The concept of nomenclature was developed to avoid confusion and to ensure the entire world follows the same name to address the particular name. Scientific names are different from local names.

What is Binomial Nomenclature?

The concept of Binomial nomenclature was developed by a famous scientist named Carolus Linnaeus. Carolus Linnaeus was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, physician, and taxonomist. Biologists across the globe follow the internationally accepted codes of principles while assigning a scientific name to the newly discovered or known organisms.

Let’s understand what binomial nomenclature is and what rules are to be followed while writing the scientific name of an organism.

The scientific name of every organism is composed of two names. The first name represents the genus to which it belongs, whereas the second name represents the species. Because the organism is named using two names, the process is called Binomial Nomenclature. Binomial nomenclature is nothing but naming the organism using its genus and species.

For example, let’s take the example of modern human beings. As per the Linnaeus taxonomical classification, Humans belong to the genus “Homo” and species “sapiens”. So, the scientific name of humans would be Homo sapiens.

Universal Rules for Binomial Nomenclature

Now that we have understood that binomial nomenclature is the system of naming an organism using two names, let’s understand the universal rules for writing the scientific name of any given organism. There are 5 rules one must follow to write the scientific name correctly.

  1. Binomial names are generally taken from the Latin language, irrespective of their origin.
  2. Each organism is given only one name and is unique. No two organisms can have the same scientific name.
  3. The scientific name should be printed in Italics. Furthermore, handwritten scientific names should be underlined separately to indicate their Latin origin.
  4. The first word denotes the genus and should start with a capital letter. And, the second word denotes the specific epithet and should start with a small letter.
  5. The name of the scientist who discovered the organism is written after the species in abbreviated form.

Let’s consider the example of a mango. Mango belongs to the genus “Mangifera” and species “Indica”. The correct way to write the scientific name of a Mango is “Mangifera indica Linn”. In this name, Linn represents the name of the scientist who discovered mango i.e. Carolus Linnaeus.

Scientific Names of Animals

Common Name Scientific Name
Modern Humans Homo sapiens
Lion Panthera leo
Housefly Musca domestica
Pigeon Columba livia
Crow Corvus splendens
Cat Felis domesticus
Dog Canis familiaris
Crocodile Crocodylus palustris
Buffalo Bubalus bubalis
Horse Equus caballus
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis
Sparrow Passer domesticus
Indian cobra Naja naja
King cobra Ophiophagus hannah
Panther Panthera pardus
Monkey Simiiformes (infraorder)
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rat snake Ptyas mucosa
Rhesus monkey Macaca mulatta
Tiger Panthera tigris
Honey bee Apid indica or Apis dorsata
Zebra Equus quagga

Scientific Names of Plants

Common Name Scientific Name
Apple Pyrus malus
Barley Hordeum vulgare
Brinjal Solanum melongena
Carrot Daucas carota
Bamboo Bamboosa aridinarifolia
Black Gram Palsoes mungo
Banana Musa paradisicum
Banyan Ficus benghalensis
Cucumber Cucumis sativas
Black Pepper Piper nigrum
Capsicum Capsicum fruitscence
Clove Syzygium aromaticum
Coriander Coriandrum sativum
Cotton Gossypium herbaceum
Curry leaf Murraya koenigii
Finger millet Eleusine coracana
Chiku Achras sapota
Guava Psidium guava
Dragon fruit Hylocereus undatus
Garlic Allium sativum
Green Gram Phaseolus audicus
Jowar Sorghum Vulgare
Ginger Zingiber officinale
Lemon Citrus Limonium
Jack fruit Artocarpus integra
Mango Mangifera indica
Kadamb Anthocephalus indicus
Onion Allium cepa
Maize Zea mays
Pea Pisum sativum
Neem Azadirachta indica
Potato Solanum tuberosum
Orange Citrus aurantium
Peacock Flower (Gulmohar) Delonix regia rafin
Papaya Carica papaya
Peepal Ficus religiosa Linn.
Pomegranate Punica granatum
Radish Raphanus sativus
Purple orchid tree (Kachnar) Bauhinia purpurea
Rice Oryza sativa
Pineapple Ananus sativus
Soya bean Glycine max
Red maple Acer rubrum
Sandalwood Santalum album
Rose Rosa
Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Silver Oak Grevillea robusta
Tobacco Nicotina tobaccum
Spinach Lactuca sativa
Teak Tectona grandis Linn.
Turmeric Curcuma longa
Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum
Tulsi Ocimum sanctum
Lettuce Lactuca sativa
Tamarind tree Tamarindus indica
Watermelon Citrullus vulgaris

Significance of Scientific Names

The concept of binomial nomenclature has been greatly significant in assigning scientific names to all living entities.

  • Before the discovery of binomial nomenclature, very long and inconvenient names were used to name an organism. With the advent of binomial nomenclature, remembering the scientific names of organisms has become easy.
  • Binomial nomenclature helps avoid confusion which is seen with local names.
  • All scientific names are universally accepted, standardized, and recognised.

FAQs

1. What is the Purpose of Scientific Names?

  • Scientific names, or binomial nomenclature, provide a standardized and universally recognized way to identify and categorize species. They help avoid confusion caused by common names, which can vary regionally.

2. Who Developed the System of Binomial Nomenclature?

  • The system of binomial nomenclature was developed by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, in the 18th century.

3. How are Scientific Names Formed?

  • Scientific names are typically composed of two parts: the genus name (capitalized) and the species name (lowercase). For example, Homo sapiens (human beings), where Homo is the genus and sapiens is the species.

4. Are Scientific Names the Same Worldwide?

  • Yes, scientific names are standardized across the globe. They are based on Latin or Greek roots, making them universally understandable by scientists, regardless of their native language.

5. Can Two Different Species Have the Same Scientific Name?

  • No, according to the rules of binomial nomenclature, each species must have a unique scientific name. However, the same common name might refer to different species in different regions.

6. Do Plants and Animals Share the Same Naming System?

  • Yes, both plants and animals use the binomial nomenclature system for their scientific names.

7. How Are Subspecies Represented in Scientific Names?

  • Subspecies are indicated by adding a third term after the species name. For example, Panthera leo leo refers to the African lion, while Panthera leo persica refers to the Asiatic lion.

8. Why are Scientific Names Important in Biology?

  • Scientific names provide a precise and unambiguous way to refer to species, facilitating accurate communication among scientists. They are essential for biodiversity studies, taxonomy, and ecological research.

9. Are There Exceptions to Binomial Nomenclature?

  • While the majority of species adhere to binomial nomenclature, some organisms, particularly bacteria, may have trinomial names or other variations based on their specific classification rules.

10. Can Scientific Names Change Over Time?

  • Yes, scientific names can change based on ongoing research and reevaluation of species relationships. This might occur due to advancements in genetic studies or a deeper understanding of evolutionary relationships.

11. How Do Hybrids Receive Scientific Names?

  • Hybrids are denoted by combining the genus names of the parent species. For example, Citrus × sinensis refers to the sweet orange, a hybrid between Citrus maxima and Citrus reticulata.

12. Are There Resources to Look Up Scientific Names?

  • Yes, numerous resources, including databases like the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and botanical gardens, provide comprehensive lists of scientific names for plants and animals.
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