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Scientific Names of Animals

Scientific Names of Animals

A brief write-up on two-part scientific names of animals, which will explain how and why these names are used for each and every animal species on the planet.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2018
Did you know that the national bird of the United States of America is Haliaeetus leucocephalus? Basically, Haliaeetus leucocephalus  is the scientific name for Bald eagle, which is the national bird and symbol of the United States. It's but obvious that all of us refer to various animals by their common names, but these names differ from one region to another. This is where the scientific or zoological names of common animals come into the picture. They help zoologists, researchers, scientists, etc., to identify different species. Simply put, these names are used to categorize animals in a system known as taxonomy.
Scientific Names
The formal system of naming different species―animals as well as plants―is known as binomial nomenclature or binominal nomenclature. While the terms 'binomial name' and 'bionominal name' both are technically correct, the term 'scientific name' is much more popular than them. Each animal's scientific name has two parts: the first part represents the 'genus' (a taxonomic group containing one or more species), while the second part represents the 'species' (a taxonomic group whose members can interbreed).
 Some sources also refer to these names as 'Latin names', but the fact that the words used to create these names are not always taken from Latin language makes the use of this term technically incorrect.

 The credit of developing this naming system goes to the Swedish botanist and physician, Carl von Linné, A.K.A. Carl Linnaeus, who attempted to describe the entire natural world by giving all the species a two-part scientific name.

 Whilst writing the scientific name of any species, you need to keep a note of the fact that the first letter of the genus name is always written in its capital form, while the first letter of species name or species descriptor is never started with a capital letter―not even if it is derived from a proper noun.

 Other than the genus name and species name, there is the trinomial name (in case of animals it is referred to as trinomen), which is given to subspecies. For instance, the trinomen of the Arctic wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, is Canis lupus arctos.
List of Scientific Names of Animals
With millions of animal species inhabiting this planet, it is very difficult to compile a binomial nomenclature list which would include all of them. An easier way out is to compile a list which would include all the popular members of Kingdom Animalia. Being easier to understand, such a list will explain the entire concept revolving around the scientific names of common animals pretty well.
Common Name Scientific Name
Aardvark Orycteropus afer
Aardwolf Proteles cristata
African bush elephant Loxodonta africana
Amazon river dolphin Inia geoffrensis
American alligator Alligator mississippiensis
American bison Bison bison
American crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
American flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Andean condor Vultur gryphus
Arabian camel Camelus dromedarius
Asian elephant Elephas maximus
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
Bahaman raccoon Procyon lotor maynardi
Bald eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Banded pitviper Trimeresurus fasciatus
Bee hummingbird Mellisuga helenae
Black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis
Black widow spider Latrodectus mactans
Black wildebeest Connochaetes gnou
Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus
Bobcat Lynx rufus
California condor Gymnogyps californianus
California sea lion Zalophus californianus
Capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Caribou/reindeer Rangifer tarandus
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus
Common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Common chimpanzee Pan troglodytes
Cougar Puma concolor
Coyote Canis latrans
Dingo Canis dingo
Eastern diamondback rattlesnake Crotalus adamanteus
Elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris
Elk Cervus canadensis
Emperor penguin Aptenodytes forsteri
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae
European otter Lutra lutra
Four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis
Giant anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla
Giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis
Golden hamster Mesocricetus auratus
Golden-capped fruit bat Acerodon jubatus
Gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Wolf Canis lupus
Great spotted kiwi Apteryx haastii
Great white shark Carcharodon carcharias
Greater dwarf lemur Cheirogaleus major
Green anaconda Eunectes murinus
Gray heron Ardea cinerea
Gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis
Guinea baboon Papio papio
Guinea pig Cavia cobaya
Hedgehog Erinaceus europeaeus
Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius
Horse Equus caballus
Iguana Iguana iguana
Impala Aepyceros melampus
Jackal Canis aureus
Jaguar Panthera onca
Kangaroo rat Dipodomys phillipsii
Killer whale Orcinus orca
King cobra Ophiophagus hannah
Koala bear Phascolarctos cinereus
Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis
Leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea
Leopard Panthera pardus
Lion Panthera leo
Marsh rabbit Sylvilagus palustris
Mekong giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Nine-banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus
North American beaver Castor canadensis
Northern cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Northern flying squirrel Glaucomys sabrinus
Ocelot Felis pardalis
Orangutan Pongo pygmaeus
Ostrich Struthio camelus
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Polar bear Ursus maritimus
Praying mantis Mantis religioso
Red kangaroo Macropus rufus
Red panda Ailurus fulgens
Snow leopard Panthera uncia
Snowy owl Bubo scandiacus
Sparrow Prunella modularis
Sperm whale Physeter catodon
Spider monkey Ateles geoffroyi
Spotted halibut Verasper variegatus
Spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta
Spur-thighed tortoise Testudo graeca
Tarantula Lycosa tarentula
Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus hariisi
Tiger Panthera tigris
Tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvieri
Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana
Western gorilla Gorilla gorilla
White-backed vulture Gyps africanus
Wildcat Felis silvestris
Wolverine Gulo gulo
With millions of species (and seemingly infinite number of subspecies) of animals inhabiting the Earth, the chances of confusion exist in plenty, and this is where the two-part naming system comes as a blessing in disguise. More importantly, this system also provides stability. When a species has to be transferred from one genus to another, you don't need to change the species descriptor.
Male Australian Red Kangaroo
Caribbean flamingo on a nest with chicks
Caribbean flamingo on a nest with chicks
Male Elephant In Heat Or Mast
Elephant Family In Forest
Elephant In Chains
Camel Ready For Travel
Crossing Camel Morocco
Desert Landscape With Camel
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle On A Perch
Bald Eagle Mated Pair
Beautiful Lion Of The Masai Mara
Western Lowland Gorilla
Western Lowland Gorilla
Little Raccoon On Tree
Big Lion Lying On Savannah Grass
White Pelican
Three Red Kangaroos
Baby Raccoon
Atlantic Salmon
Alligator Eating A Fish
Red Deer Buck Howling In A Field
Playful Bath
Red Deer
Lion Family