Scientific Names for animals by Stella M. Turk MBE

All such names are ‘latinized in every language used
Canis familiaris is our familiar canine,
Felis cattus is our less familiar feline
Equus, the horse, is an equine
Whilst Leo, the lion, is leonine.
Always unexpectedly, up it pops -
The colourful Hoopoe, Epops epops.
Garrulus garrulus the Jay
Has more than enough to say.
Porcellio scaber *, our ‘grammar sow
(Has common names meaning pig or cow).
Not all names are descriptive, or who would wish
To have his name given to a fish **?
Perhaps the less said the better
About Homo sapiens, unwise ‘go-getter’.

Stella M Turk MBE

March 2005

Stellas notes:

*Literally ‘the scabby little pig’! All countries have many common names but none reach the 200 or so in English. Look at the underside of a specimen to see why they have been called sows and cows.

** It is an honour to have one’s name given to an animal by the person describing it. For example Gobius couchi ‘Couch’s Goby’ was name after the famous Polperro naturalist and fish expert Dr Jonathan Couch.


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