In order to be officially registered, a newly discovered species must first be given a scientific species-name. This must differ from all previously allocated names and will be valid throughout the world, irrespective of national language. In general, Latin or Greek -the traditional languages of science- are used for this purpose. The 'scientific baptism' is held to take place when the new name, together with a detailed description of the characteristics of the particular species, is published in a scientific journal.
Each name consists of two parts: the genus name and the species name . The genus name is comparable to the name of a make of car -Volkswagen, for example- whilst the species name corresponds to the particular model -Rabbit or Lupo, for instance. Discovery of entirely new genera is much rarer than that of new species, so that in most cases the genus name has already been fixed. Many species of frog, for example, including as yet undiscovered ones, belong to the genus Rana.
Within internationally agreed limits, a scientist is free to choose any name he or she likes for a newly discovered species. Thus, a new species can, for example, be named after the place in which it was discovered (Rana angolensis from Angola); but is can also be named after a person. If the person is female, and if, for example, she is called 'Rosemarie', the ending 'ae' will be affixed to the name (Rana rosemariae); if the person is male and called 'Leonard', the ending 'i' will be attached (Rana leonardi). If more than one person is involved-a married couple, for example, or a family-and they are called, for instance, 'Schubert', the suffix will be '-orum' (Rana schubertorum).
A donation to BIOPAT gives YOU the chance of allocating A NAME OF YOUR CHOICE to a newly discovered species of animal or plant. By making this very personal, enduring form of dedication, you create a link between your own commitment to the protection of the environment and a person that you love.