in a name?
learn only 3 things about them ...
same animal may have different common names.
Scientific names CAN CHANGE!
names are always written in italics.
In this website,
you will often come across a perfectly understandable name like 'Copperband
butterflyfish' followed immediately by something like 'Chelmon
rostratus'. 'Copperband butterflyfish' is the common name for
the animal and 'Chelmon rostratus' is its scientific name.
of scientific names:
Scientific names reveal the relationship among living things. Just
as we may guess that two people with the same surname are somehow
names organise living things into groups.
do we have scientific names?
Scientists everywhere use the same scientific name regardless
of the language they speak or write. Thus they know exactly
which living thing is discussed. In this universal scientific
naming system, each kind of living things has a unique name
in a language which includes Latin and Greek words.
not just use common names? Common names are confusing
because one living thing may have several common names; or one
common name can refer to several different living things.
If you need to find out more about a living thing, say on the
internet, for a more accurate search, use the scientific name
rather than the common name.
scientific name has two parts: a generic name (genus) followed
by a specific name (species). Those of the same species can
breed in the wild, but not with others of a different species.
Related species have the same genus name and share similar features.
Related genera (plural of genus) are grouped into a Family.
Those in the same Family share similar characteristics and a
Families are grouped into an Order, related Orders into a Class,
and related Classes into a Phylum. Related Phyla (plural of
phylum) are grouped into a Kingdom.
Along the right
hand margin are some of the more familiar members of the Phylum Mollusca.
They appear different but they share similar features and a common
ancestry. Thus they are grouped together. For example, they are soft-bodied,
with a radula (rasping tongue) and many have shells.
Here is another example
showing the classification of sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars
and sea cucumbers.
As if this were not confusing enough, scientific names may change
as more is learnt about the ancestry and features of various plants
and animals. Such new information may change the way living things
are organised, and their scientific names are changed accordingly.
names are written in italics.
Sometimes, after the genus name, there is an abbreviation 'sp.' for
'a species' or 'spp.' for 'many species'. This means we are referring
to members of a genus and not to a specific species.
As the study of animals progresses, there are different ways of grouping
animals based on new discoveries of their genetic