How to Include Species Names in Papers

Two Methods:Using a Genus or Species Name in Your PaperFinding a Genus or Species Name

When you’re writing a scientific paper, you’ll likely need to include species names. The species name is the very specific, official name given to every species that has been classified by biologists, from plants to microorganisms to animals. Sometimes, you also include the genus name, which is one step above the species name in the classification system. Often times, these names are in Latin, though they may also be named after a specific person.

Method 1
Using a Genus or Species Name in Your Paper

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    Put the species name in italics, but do not capitalize the name. When using any classification, whether species, genus, or one further up the classification system, always put it in italics in you papers. For example, if you were referring to the species name of humans in your paper, you would write sapiens.
    • Do not capitalize the species name.
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    • When you can't italicize, or when you choose not to italicize, you can underline the scientific name as well.
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    Capitalize all other names. As you work your way up the classification system, you will begin to classify these names. The only name that you do not classify is the species name. You would capitalize the genus name, or any classification name above species.
    • For example, if you were discussing the human race, you would capitalize the genus name, Homo but not the species name, sapiens.
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    Understand why using the species name is useful. You should include a species name when you want to be very specific about what you’re naming. No two species have the same official classification name, though a common name may be shared among species.
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    Be aware that each species only has one official name. Therefore, it’s best to refer to species by their official classification when writing scientific papers and the like.

Method 2
Finding a Genus or Species Name

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    Learn what “species” means. In the biological classification system, the classifications go from more general to more specific. “Species” is considered the most basic grouping of biology; members of the same species look like one another and are biologically similar. Also, they can reproduce with one another. For instance, humans belong the kingdom Animalia and more specifically, to the phylum Chordata.
    • From there, the classifications keeping going down: class Mammalia, subclass Theria, infraclass Eutheria, order Primates, suborder Anthropodia, family Hominidae, genus Homo, and species sapiens. Each category narrows down the members.
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    • For instance, thousands of species belong in the Animalia kingdom, but currently only one living species belongs in the genus homo. Therefore, “genus” is broader than “species.”
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    Look up the specific name. Find a high quality site to help you find the name of the species you are looking up. Sites like Britannica will have that kind of information. Search for the animal or plant by the common name it is normally referred to as.
    • For instance, to look up the species of your house cat, you’d search for domesticated cat, since they belong to the larger cat family. The species of a house cat is “catus,” while the genus is “Felis.”
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    Use the common name to help you find the species name. Sometimes, you will have to narrow down to the species name carefully. For instance, “crepe myrtle” refers to the genus Lagerstroemia. The genus has over 50 species in it, so you will have to choose the correct species. However, knowing the common name will help you find the species name.

Tips

  • Run an internet search to find a species name, or head to your library to use an encyclopedia to find the correct name.

Article Info

Categories: Science