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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.