How Are the Scientific Names of Insects Determined?


Quick Answer

There are international rules and codes established by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature that dictate how insects and other animals are categorized. The classification of living organisms requires scientific names in a system referred to as binomial nomenclature. This ensures that the scientific community worldwide uses only one name to identify any insect or other animal to avoid confusion.

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In taxonomy, most scientific names use Latin words to describe the type of insect or animal. In many cases, the name of the scientist or entomologist connected with the particular insect may be written next to the scientific name. The genus is capitalized and the species is in lower case letters. The classification of insects begins by assigning them to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda and class Insecta. The Insecta class is further subdivided into orders, families, genera and species. For example, the common housefly belongs to the order called Diptera, family Muscidae, genus Musca and species domestica. Its scientific name is Musca domestica.

The different orders of insects can include Coleoptera, Isoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Blattodea and Orthoptera. The order Hymenoptera contains insects, such as bees and ants. The scientific name of some insects in this order, such as the black and gold bumblebee and the black and yellow mud dauber are Bombus auricomus and Sceliphron caementarium, respectively. Similarly, the order Lepidoptera consists of different species that include butterflies and moths. Cockroaches belong to the order Blattodea, and the scientific name for the American cockroach is Periplaneta americana.

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