Naming And Classification Of Insects

The formal naming of insects follows the rules of nomenclature developed for all animals (plants have a slightly different system). Formal scientific names are required for unambiguous communication between all scientists, no matter what their native language. Vernacular (common) names do not fulfill this need: the same insects even may have different vernacular names amongst peoples that speak the same language. For instance, the British refer to "ladybirds", whereas the same coccinellid beetles are "ladybugs" to many people in the USA. Many insects have no vernacular name, or one common name is given to many species as if only one is involved. These difficulties are addressed by the Linnaean system, which provides every described species with two given names (a binomen). The first is the generic (genus) name, used for a usually broader grouping than the second name, which is the specific (species) name. These latinized names are always used together and are italicized, as in this book. The combination of generic and specific names provides each organism with a unique name. Thus, the name Aedes aegypti is recognized by any medical entomologist, anywhere, whatever the local name (and there are many) for this disease-transmitting mosquito. Ideally, all taxa should have such a latinized binomen, but in practice some alternatives may be used prior to naming formally (section 17.3.2).

In scientific publications, the species name often is followed by the name of the original describer of the species and perhaps the year in which the name first was published legally. In this textbook, we do not follow this practice but, in discussion of particular insects, we give the order and family names to which the species belongs. In publications, after the first citation of the combination of generic and species names in the text, it is common practice in subsequent citations to abbreviate the genus to the initial letter only (e.g. A. aegypti). However, where this might be ambiguous,

Table 1.1 Taxonomic categories (obligatory categories are shown in bold).

Standard

Table 1.1 Taxonomic categories (obligatory categories are shown in bold).

Standard

Taxon category

suffix

Example

Order

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