This is a list of terms and symbols used in scientific names for organisms, and in describing the names. For proper parts of the names themselves, see List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names. Note that many of the abbreviations are used with or without a stop.
The main ranks are kingdom (regnum), phylum or division (divisio), class (classis), order (ordo), family (familia), genus and species. The ranks of section and series are also used in botany for groups within genera, while section is used in zoology for a division of an order. Further levels in the hierarchy can be made by the addition of prefixes such as sub-, super-, infra-, and so on.
Divisions such as "morph", "form", "variety", "strain", "breed", "cultivar", hybrid (nothospecies) and "landrace" are used to describe various sub-specific groups in different fields.
It is possible for a clade to be unranked, for example Psoroptidia (Yunker, 1955) and the SAR supergroup. Sometimes a rank is described as clade where the traditional hierarchy cannot accommodate them..
Note that in zoology the English descriptions, such as "conserved name", for example, are acceptable and generally used. These descriptions can be classified between accepted names (nom. cons., nom. nov., nom. prot.) and unaccepted combinations for different reasons (nom. err., nom. illeg., nom. nud., nom. rej., nom. supp., nom. van.), with some cases in between regarding the use (nom. dub.: used but not fully accepted; nom. obl.: accepted but not fully used, so it yields precedence to a nom. prot).
Genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms as well as viruses. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.
In taxonomy, binomial nomenclature, also called binominal nomenclature or binary nomenclature, is a 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. Such a name is called a binomial name, a binomen, binominal name or a scientific name; more informally it is also historically called a Latin name.
The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is also informally known as the ICZN Code, for its publisher, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. The rules principally regulate:
In biology, a type is a particular specimen of an organism to which the scientific name of that organism is formally attached. In other words, a type is an example that serves to anchor or centralizes the defining features of that particular taxon. In older usage, a type was a taxon rather than a specimen.
In taxonomy, a nomen nudum is a designation which looks exactly like a scientific name of an organism, and may have originally been intended to be one, but it has not been published with an adequate description. This makes it a "bare" or "naked" name, which cannot be accepted as it stands. A largely equivalent but much less frequently used term is nomen tantum.
In binomial nomenclature, a nomen dubium is a scientific name that is of unknown or doubtful application.
In biological nomenclature, a syntype is any one of two or more biological types that is listed in a description of a taxon where no holotype was designated. Precise definitions of this and related terms for types have been established as part of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.
In zoological nomenclature, author citation refers to listing the person who first makes a scientific name of a taxon available. This is done in a scientific work while fulfilling the formal requirements under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. According to Article 51.1 of the Code, "the name of the author does not form part of the name of a taxon and its citation is optional, although customary and often advisable." However recommendation 51A suggests "the original author and date of a name should be cited at least once in each work dealing with the taxon denoted by that name. This is especially important and has a unique character between homonyms and in identifying species-group names which are not in their native combinations". For the sake of information retrieval, the author citation and year appended to the scientific name, e.g. genus-species-author-year, genus-author-year, family-author-year, etc., is often considered a "de facto" unique identifier, although this usage may often be imperfect.
In botanical nomenclature, author citation is the way of citing the person or group of people who validly published a botanical name, i.e. who first published the name while fulfilling the formal requirements as specified by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). In cases where a species is no longer in its original generic placement, both the authority for the original genus placement and that for the new combination are given.
In biology, a homonym is a name for a taxon that is identical in spelling to another such name, that belongs to a different taxon.
A conserved name or nomen conservandum is a scientific name that has specific nomenclatural protection. That is, the name is retained, even though it violates one or more rules which would otherwise prevent it from being legitimate. Nomen conservandum is a Latin term, meaning "a name to be conserved". The terms are often used interchangeably, such as by the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (ICN), while the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature favours the term "conserved name".
In zoological nomenclature, a nomen oblitum is a disused scientific name which has been declared to be obsolete in favour of another 'protected' name.
In zoology and botany, a paratype is a specimen of an organism that helps define what the scientific name of a species and other taxon actually represents, but it is not the holotype. Often there is more than one paratype. Paratypes are usually held in museum research collections.
In biological nomenclature, a nomen novum, new replacement name is a scientific name that is created specifically to replace another scientific name, but only when this other name cannot be used for technical, nomenclatural reasons. It does not apply when a name is changed for taxonomic reasons. It is frequently abbreviated, e.g.nomen nov., nom. nov..
The Botanical and Zoological Codes of nomenclature treat the concept of synonymy differently.
Priority is a fundamental principle of modern botanical nomenclature and zoological nomenclature. Essentially, it is the principle of recognising the first valid application of a name to a plant or animal. There are two aspects to this:
In biodiversity informatics, a chresonym is the cited use of a taxon name, usually a species name, within a publication. The term is derived from the Greek χρῆσις chresis meaning "a use" and refers to published usage of a name.
Nomen illegitimum is a technical term, used mainly in botany. It is usually abbreviated as nom. illeg. Although the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants uses Latin terms for other kinds of name, the glossary defines the English phrase "illegitimate name" rather than the Latin equivalent. However, the Latin abbreviation is widely used by botanists and mycologists.
Under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (Code), the name-bearing type is the biological type that determines the application of a name. Each animal taxon regulated by the Code at least potentially has a name-bearing type. The name-bearing type can be either a type genus, type species, or one or more type specimens. For example, the name Mabuya maculata has often been used for the Noronha skink, but because the name-bearing type of the former, a lizard preserved in the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris, does not represent the same species as the Noronha skink, the name maculata cannot be used for the latter.