scaphiophryne gottlebei

Plurals and Possessives in Taxonomic Nomenclature

Okay this is a serious problem, and people need to listen up.

It is very easy:

  • A species has one name.
  • Only one name.
  • That name is not altered in any way.
  • The spelling on that name is not open to interpretation.
  • It cannot be pluralised. No -s, no -es, no -i, no nothing.
  • You do not alter its declension ever for any reason.
  • The gender of the specific epithet depends on the gender of the genus (if the specific epithet is a Latinized word). It must change if the species is moved to another genus of different gender, but not for any other reason.
  • Genera and species CANNOT be made possessive: Anubias’, Scaphiophryne gottlebei’s, etc. ARE WRONG.
  • All taxonomic names can be used as a singular or plural form. Usually singular is preferred.

Here is how you conjugate Anubias, the aquatic plant genus:

  • 1 Anubias plant
  • 100 Anubias plants
  • 1014Anubias plants
  • You could equally say 1 Anubias and 100 Anubias, but it would be less clear.

Here is how not to conjugate Anubias:

  • An Anubia
  • 100 Anubia
  • A bajillion Anubiases

Apparently some people like to call a single Betta a Betta splendenNO.

Betta splendens is always Betta splendens irrespective of how many B. splendens you might be talking about. Taking out the s at the end violates its binomial name and is WRONG.

This rule is true for all genera and species.

Thanks to fishmostly for bringing this up in an ask. I hope this clears it up.

I thought you might enjoy this picture of a rainbow hopper frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) at The California Academy of Sciences! Unfortunately, it is a endangered species due to frequent illegal pet trade. It’s quite sad.

Submitted by discere-et-docere

It is indeed quite sad! This species is also threatened because it is only found in one small area of Madagascar: the Isalo massif. It lives in the canyons, and has an extremely sedentary lifestyle. The forests in and around this massif are threatened by annual fires, as well as logging. Conservation action is being taken to prevent the destruction of this habitat.