Glossary of scientific naming

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 glossary of scientific names. Note that many of the abbreviations are used with or without a stop.

Naming standards and taxonomic organizations and their codes and taxonomies

General terms


Rank names

Main article: Taxonomic rank

The main ranks are kingdom (regnum), phylum or division (divisio), class, order, family, 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 "form", "variety", "strain", "breed", "cultivar" 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.

Latin descriptions of names or taxa

Note that in zoology the English descriptions, such as "conserved name", for example, are acceptable and generally used. This descriptions can be classified between accepted names (nom. cons., nom. nov., nom. prot.) and unaccepted combinations because 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).

Abbreviations and symbols

See also


  1. On the use of the term nomen vanum in taxonomy. John Chorn and Kenneth N. Whetstone. Museum of Natural History, Kansas, Lawrence 66045. Journal of Paleontology vol 52 no. 2, March 1978
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