What Has Six Legs?

What Has Six Legs?

What’s in a Name?

Biologists use scientific names to identify species, because they’re less variable than common names.  The scientific name of a species has two parts, always written in italics. The genus name comes first, always beginning with a capital letter. The second part, always in lower-case letters, identifies the species in the genus.

Most insects do not have common names, so we rely only on the scientific name. This is the same in all languages and countries.  Many insects that are economically important, or that are big, colourful, obvious or popular, such as butterflies or dragonflies, have been given common names.

Some people think that common names are easier to remember and speak. However, most of us have no trouble with even pretty long scientific ones such as Tyrannosaurus, Geranium, or Hippopotamus. How many common names do you notice in the photograph captions below?


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