Latin naming

Zoological names are written in a standard way so they can be easily recognised.

– The genus name is first, and must start with a capital, the specific name second, starting with a lower-case letter. This shows the hierarchy between genus and species.

– The genus and specific name are conventionally written in italics (or other contrasting typeface) to distinguish the name from surrounding text.

– Only the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet are used. Gaps, accents, apostrophes, hyphens (except rare instances) and numbers are not used.

– Species names should be written in full at first, but for later mentions, the genus name can be abbreviated e.g. Homo sapiens can be written H. sapiens.

– The names of higher-ranking groups e.g. families or orders always begin with a capital but are not italicised.

For example, the common Anemonefish is called Amphiprion ocellaris, shortened to A. ocellaris. It belongs to the genus Amphiprion, which also includes 29 other species, such as Amphiprion clarkii or Clark’s Anemonefish. Together with other genera, Amphiprion is included in the Damselfish family, Pomacentridae (the Latin name for the family) which consists of 28 genera (plural for genus) and about 385 total species. Pomacentridae and other related families of fish make up the order Perciformes (bony fish with a Perch like body).