Nomenclature: Zoological nomenclature- Zooconcept. In


Naming of organisms scientifically is called nomenclature. Naming of an animal species is called zoological nomenclature. During process of classifying any animal its nomenclature is first required. Every organism is consisting of two names – (1) Common or vernacular names and (2) Scientific names. The well known animals and plants are known by several names in different countries and languages of the world. An organism may be popular by different local names in different regions of a country. This creates a great problem in the study of an organism because a man from other place or of other language cannot recognize that organism.


To assign only one word for naming in classification is called mononomial nomenclature. This is used in writing the names of taxa or supra specific groups e.g. name of family, order, class or phylum etc.


Carolus Linnaeus has established binomial nomenclature (Gk. Bi-two, nomial names and Nomenclature is the process of giving scientific names to animals and plants). Such a nomenclature incorporates two names, the first is the generic name i.e., the name of the genus and second is specific name i.e., the name of the species:

For example :
The Human being is Homo sapiens. The word Homo is the generic name and sapiens is the name of the species. These are latin words and printed in Italics. Generic name has initial capital letter and specific name, a small letter. When both the names are written, they should be underlined when written in scripts other than italics. Binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus has become widely accepted in the modern trends of classification. 1st scientific name of plant was adopted from 1/5/1753 and animal was from 1/8/1758.


This is the system of nomenclature used in naming subspecies. The sub-species is of a lower category than species.
For example : There are two sub-species of lion called Panthera leo leo (African Lion) and Panthera leo persica (Indian Lion). This system of nomenclature was introduced by Huxley Strick landt.

Sometimes, a species is divided into sub-species, due to presence of some differences in their characters. In this case the name of the sub-species, follows the species. All the rules of nomenclature are applicable for this. But the name of the sub-species will be written after species and it will start with a small letter. Thus a scientific name is written with three names i.e., trinomial nomenclature.

Example: The crow is named as ;
Corvus splendens. This species have three sub-species such as:
(i) Indian Crow-Corvus splendens splendens.
(ii) Burmese Crow-Corvus splendens insolens.
(iii) Srilankan Crow-Corvus splendens protegatus.


In case of Dacus Afrodacus aberrans nigritus, the 1st and 2nd words are genus, subgenus and 3rd and 4th words are species and sub-species, respectively. Such a nomenclature with more than three words comes under the polynomial nomenclature.


The International Commission on Zoological nomenclature was established by International Congress of Zoologists in 1898. The commission formulated.

The following codes of nomenclature :

1.The names, mentioned in the 10th edition of “Systema Naturae” published by C. Linnaeus (1758), are accepted. Any name given prior to this is not recognised.

2. No two genera of animals will bear same name.

3. Two species of a genus will not bear similar names.

4. The name of genus should be a nominative singular, a single word. The specific name should be single or compound.

5. The first letter of genus must begin with a capital letter and the species with a small letter.

6. New taxon is accepted, if sufficient description for identification, is published in a standard scientific journal, as per the rules prescribed by International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.

7. According to law of priority, the name proposed first is accepted. All other names are synonyms.

8. The scientific names must be Latin or Latinized words.

9. The names must be written in italics with the name of the author and year.

Example – Homo sapiens (Linnaeus, 1758)

10. The name of order, superfamily family, subfamily and tribe are written by suffixing dae, oidea, -ideae, -inae, -ini respectively.

11. It is customary to deposit the collection of new specimen in some museum for reference.

12. The 1964 code consists of a Preamble and 86 articles, which is referred by Zoologist while describing a new species.

13. The scientific name (both genus and species) should be written in Italics. There shall be no two genera of animals bearing same name.

14. Scientific names must be either Latin or Latinized and preferably printed in italics. The genus should be a single word (nominative singular) and begin with a capital letter.

15. The specis name should be a single or compound word beginning with a small letter (usually an adjective agreeing grammatically) with the name of the genus. When a new genus is proposed, the “Type species” must be indicated.

16. The name of a species consists of two words (binomial) and that of sub-species of three words (trinomial); in each case the first word is the generic name, the second word is the specific name and the third word, when applicable, is the name of the scientist who first described the species.

For example – Rana tigrina Daud.

17. The name of the family is constructed by adding the ending – ‘idae’ or the name of the subfamily when exists by adding – ‘inae’.

18. If a new species is established, it is customary to preserve it in some museum for reference. This specimen is called as Type specimen.

19. The name of the genus should be a single word and must begin with a capital letter and the name of species and subspecies when applicable should begin with small letter.

20. Sometimes the common and generic names are the same e.g., gorilla is Gorilla,eucalyptus is Eucalyptus and cosmos is Cosmos, etc.

21. The scientific names should not be less than three words and more than twelve words.

22. The law of priority should be maintained.

23. If a species is limited to any particular area/region, then the species names are to be suitably latinized i.e. Ficus bengalensis (for banyan tree only present in Bengal).

ICBN :  International code of Botanical Nomenclature. 

ICBacN : International code of Bacteriological Nomenclature. 

ICZNC : International code of zoological nomenclature.

ICVNC : International code of verterinary nomenclature.

JCNCP : International code of Nomenclature of cultivated plants.

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