Binomial nomenclature

Orcinus orca, the orca or the killer whale
Echinopsis pachanoi, the San Pedro cactus
Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), a Swedish botanist, invented the modern system of binomial nomenclature
The bacterium Escherichia coli, commonly shortened to E. coli
Magnolia hodgsonii

Formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages.

- Binomial nomenclature

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10th edition of Systema Naturae

Book written by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus and published in two volumes in 1758 and 1759, which marks the starting point of zoological nomenclature.

Title page of the 10th edition of Systema Naturae
Carl Linnaeus, oil painting by Alexander Roslin in 1775.
The Barbary macaque was included in the 10th edition as Simia sylvanus.
The snowy owl was included in the 10th edition as Strix scandiaca.
The common frog was included in the 10th edition as Rana temporaria.
The butterfly blenny was included in the 10th edition as Blennius ocellatus.
Crustaceans such as the water flea Monoculus pulex (now Daphnia pulex) were included in Linnaeus' Insecta.
Linnaeus gave the name Cicada septendecim to an insect whose adult appears once in 17 years.
The common cuttlefish was named Sepia officinalis in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae.
Allionia incarnata was one of the two new species in the new genus Allionia introduced in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae.

In it, Linnaeus introduced binomial nomenclature for animals, something he had already done for plants in his 1753 publication of Species Plantarum.


Basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity.

All adult Eurasian blue tits share the same coloration, unmistakably identifying the morphospecies.
A region of the gene for the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme is used to distinguish species in the Barcode of Life Data Systems database.
The cladistic or phylogenetic species concept is that a species is the smallest lineage which is distinguished by a unique set of either genetic or morphological traits. No claim is made about reproductive isolation, making the concept useful also in palaeontology where only fossil evidence is available.
A chronospecies is defined in a single lineage (solid line) whose morphology changes with time. At some point, palaeontologists judge that enough change has occurred that two species (A and B), separated in time and anatomy, once existed.
A cougar, mountain lion, panther, or puma, among other common names: its scientific name is Puma concolor.
The type specimen (holotype) of Lacerta plica, described by Linnaeus in 1758
Ernst Mayr proposed the widely used Biological Species Concept of reproductive isolation in 1942.
Palaeontologists are limited to morphological evidence when deciding whether fossil life-forms like these Inoceramus bivalves formed a separate species.
Horizontal gene transfers between widely separated species complicate the phylogeny of bacteria.
John Ray believed that species breed true and do not change, even though variations exist.
Carl Linnaeus created the binomial system for naming species.
Blackberries belong to any of hundreds of microspecies of the Rubus fruticosus species aggregate.
The butterfly genus Heliconius contains many similar species.
The Hypsiboas calcaratus–fasciatus species complex contains at least six species of treefrog.
Carrion crow
Hybrid with dark belly, dark gray nape
Hybrid with dark belly
Hooded crow
Seven "species" of Larus gulls interbreed in a ring around the Arctic.
Opposite ends of the ring: a herring gull (Larus argentatus) (front) and a lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) in Norway
A greenish warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides
Presumed evolution of five "species" of greenish warblers around the Himalayas

All species (except viruses) are given a two-part name, a "binomial".

International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

The rules and recommendations have one fundamental aim: to provide the maximum universality and continuity in the naming of all animals, except where taxonomic judgment dictates otherwise.

Front Cover of the 4th edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

How names are correctly established in the frame of binominal nomenclature

Botanical name

Bellis perennis has one botanical name and many common names, including perennial daisy, lawn daisy, common daisy, and English daisy.

A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) and, if it concerns a plant cultigen, the additional cultivar or Group epithets must conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP).

Specific name (zoology)

Front Cover of the 4th edition of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

In zoological nomenclature, the specific name (also specific epithet or species epithet) is the second part (the second name) within the scientific name of a species (a binomen).


Genus that emerged in the genus Australopithecus that encompasses the extant species Homo sapiens (modern humans), plus several extinct species classified as either ancestral to or closely related to modern humans (depending on the species), most notably Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.

Evolutionary tree chart emphasizing the subfamily Homininae and the tribe Hominini. After diverging from the line to Ponginae the early Homininae split into the tribes Hominini and Gorillini. The early Hominini split further, separating the line to Homo from the lineage of Pan. Currently, tribe Hominini designates the subtribes Hominina, containing genus Homo; Panina, genus Pan; and Australopithecina, with several extinct genera—the subtribes are not labelled on this chart.
A model of the evolution of the genus Homo over the last 2 million years (vertical axis). The rapid "Out of Africa" expansion of H. sapiens is indicated at the top of the diagram, with admixture indicated with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and unspecified archaic African hominins. Late survival of robust australopithecines (Paranthropus) alongside Homo until 1.2 Mya is indicated in purple.
Successive dispersals of Homo erectus (yellow), Homo neanderthalensis (ochre) and  Homo sapiens (red).

The binomial name Homo sapiens was coined by Carl Linnaeus (1758).

Gaspard Bauhin

Caspar Bauhin (1623), Pinax Theatri Botanici, page 291. On this page, a number of Tithymalus species (now Euphorbia) is listed, described and provided with synonyms and references. Bauhin already used binomial names but did not consistently give all species throughout the work binomials.
Animadversiones in historiam generalem plantarum, 1601

Gaspard Bauhin or Caspar Bauhin (Casparus Bauhinus; 17 January 1560 – 5 December 1624), was a Swiss botanist whose Pinax theatri botanici (1623) described thousands of plants and classified them in a manner that draws comparisons to the later binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus.


Science of plant life and a branch of biology.

The fruit of Myristica fragrans, a species native to Indonesia, is the source of two valuable spices, the red aril (mace) enclosing the dark brown nutmeg.
An engraving of the cells of cork, from Robert Hooke's Micrographia, 1665
The Linnaean Garden of Linnaeus' residence in Uppsala, Sweden, was planted according to his Systema sexuale.
Echeveria glauca in a Connecticut greenhouse. Botany uses Latin names for identification, here, the specific name glauca means blue.
Micropropagation of transgenic plants
Botany involves the recording and description of plants, such as this herbarium specimen of the lady fern Athyrium filix-femina.
The food we eat comes directly or indirectly from plants such as rice.
The nodules of Medicago italica contain the nitrogen fixing bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti. The plant provides the bacteria with nutrients and an anaerobic environment, and the bacteria fix nitrogen for the plant.
Thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, the first plant to have its genome sequenced, remains the most important model organism.
Transverse section of a fossil stem of the Devonian vascular plant Rhynia gwynne-vaughani
Five of the key areas of study within plant physiology
1 An oat coleoptile with the sun overhead. Auxin (pink) is evenly distributed in its tip.
2 With the sun at an angle and only shining on one side of the shoot, auxin moves to the opposite side and stimulates cell elongation there.
3 and 4 Extra growth on that side causes the shoot to bend towards the sun.
A nineteenth-century illustration showing the morphology of the roots, stems, leaves and flowers of the rice plant Oryza sativa
A botanist preparing a plant specimen for mounting in the herbarium

Efforts to catalogue and describe their collections were the beginnings of plant taxonomy, and led in 1753 to the binomial system of nomenclature of Carl Linnaeus that remains in use to this day for the naming of all biological species.

Synonym (taxonomy)

Not interchangeable with the name of which it is a synonym.

Synonym list in cuneiform on a clay tablet, Neo-Assyrian period

In botanical nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that applies to a taxon that (now) goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name (under the currently used system of scientific nomenclature) to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies. This name is no longer in use, so it is now a synonym of the current scientific name, Picea abies.

House sparrow

Bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world.

An immature of the Indian subspecies (P. d. indicus) in Rajasthan, India
A pair of Italian sparrows, in Rome
A male of the subspecies P. d. balearoibericus in Istanbul
A male of the migratory subspecies P. d. bactrianus (with a Eurasian tree sparrow and young house or Spanish sparrows) in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
By a nest in a saguaro cactus in Arizona
House sparrows perching on a roof, during winter in the Southern Alps of New Zealand
A female house sparrow feeding on rice grains
A pair of the Indian subspecies (P. d. indicus) mating in Kolkata
Female bringing food for young in a nest made in a tree hole in California
Sparrow in a ventilator
Eggs in a nest
A hatchling
A juvenile, showing its pink bill and obvious nestling gape—the soft, swollen base, which becomes harder and less swollen as the bird matures
A male sparrow being eaten by a cat: Domestic cats are one of the main predators of the house sparrow.
An immature house sparrow sleeping

The house sparrow was among the first animals to be given a scientific name in the modern system of biological classification, since it was described by Carl Linnaeus, in the 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae.