In classifying books and other works about our fauna and flora nature-lovers repeatedly have to face scientific names of species: Sometimes two, some other time three unknown scientific terms are used for an animal or plant species, and occasionally the author contents himself with a single name, meaning the "genus". The Latin and Greek names are based on a a science called "Taxonomy", the biological systematics internationally common in zoology and botany. The Zebra Finch is to serve as an example to explain it.
The systematic, taxonomical classification of the "animal kingdom" (Regnum) into the various catergories starts with the "phyla":
The ancient "phylum" (Phylum) of the "chordates" (Chordata) or the "subphylum" of the "vertebrates" (Vertebrata) respectively produced the "classes" of the various fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. All feathered creatures are united in a class (Classis), because all recent and extinct bird species are derived from a common prototype, which itself goes back to small bipedal dinosaurs. The primeval bird from Solnhofen (Archaeopteryx) gives us a rough idea of what the ancestors of the birds (Aves) may have looked like. Further primeval forms presumably even missing links between the birds and their ancestors were discovered in China at the end des 20th century.
|Taxon English||Taxon scientif.||Zebra Finch English||Zebra Finch scientific||Examples of other
|Phylum||Phylum||Chordate||Chordata||Sponges, cnidarians, arthropds, molluscs, echinoderms|
|Class||Classis||Birds||Aves||Jellyfish, arachnids, crustaceans, millipedes, insects, bony fishes, reptiles, mammals|
|Subclass||Sub-Classis||Recent or "Modern" Birds||Neornithes||Largely-winged insects, marsupials, placental mammals|
|Order||Ordo||Passerines *||Passeriformes||Scorpions, dipterans, hymenopterons, minnows, parrots, ducks & geese, insectivorous and fruit bats, primates|
|Suborder||Sub-Ordo||Song birds||Passeres or Oscines||Thread-horns (Gnats), crocodiles, lizards, bee-eaters, flying foxes, bats, monkeys, rats and mice|
|Family||Familia||Estrildids||Estrildidae||Yellow Jackets, bees, whitefish, lizards, cockatoos, flycatchers & thrushes, titmice, bullfinches & goldfinches etc., buntings, horseshoe-bats, mice|
|Subfamily||Sub-Familia||||||Hornets, pythons, pigmy falcons, Blunt-tailed Parrots, Lories|
|Genus||Genus||Zebra Finches||Taeniopygia||Poecile titmice, grass finches, budgies, grass parrots (Neophema), rosellas|
|Species||Species||Zebra Finch||T. guttata||Oxeye tit, Long-tailed grassfinch, Masked grassfinch, budgy|
|Subspecies||Sub-Spezies||Timor Zebra Finch||T. guttata guttata||Australian Zebra Finch:
Taeniopygia guttata castanotis
* A lot of taxonomists call the order Passeriformes "songbirds"!
Bezzel, Einhard (1977): Ornithologie. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
Wolters, H. E. (1983): Die Vögel Europas im System der Vögel. Biotropic-Verlag, Baden-Baden.