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Forgive me if my question does not belong here or if I'm using incorrect terms, but I'm not educated in biology at all. I'm investigating the workings of the biological classification system.

I was wondering if there is a list somewhere of all kingdoms, orders, classes, etc., both in Latin and common names?

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That list is called Wikipedia. ;-) … Seriously, (almost?) all Wikipedia articles on animals carry both the common and the scientific name. –  Konrad Rudolph Dec 30 '11 at 14:29
True, and in fact Wikipedia is my source, but I'm looking for a more convenient format, a list on a single page. –  Ferdy Dec 30 '11 at 19:36

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The Tree of Life project has a browse-able tree of all major taxa, but not necessarily all species. You can start at the root of the tree here. Tree of life uses modern phylogenetic nomenclature rather than more traditional Kingdom-Phylum-Class-etc.

Part of the problem that you will run into is that common names differ across regions/countries/languages. This is the point of species binomials. They are language-invariant.

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Thanks, thats a very useful site. The information there is largely what I need, I only require english common names. The format isn't ideal for my purposes but I'll find a way to parse it. –  Ferdy Dec 30 '11 at 19:46
Wikispecies might help with common names: species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page –  kmm Dec 30 '11 at 19:55

EOL has large collections of common names, and a pretty comprehensive API which should be able to access them somehow (I haven't tried specifically downloading commons name before, though, so I can't promise that it'd work). If you need a list locally, ITIS has downloadable pipe-delimited files containing scientific names and common names (although you'd need to do the mapping yourself). Hope that helps!

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EOL gets some of their common names from uBio, which exists explicitly to serve names. I don't know how their API is compared to EOL, but it would be worth checking out. –  Oreotrephes Jul 11 '13 at 13:30


The UK accepted system has five kingdoms, for some it's hard to describe a single word common name so I hope you don't mind that I have written brief summaries too:

  1. Animalia are multi-cellular organisms that have adaptations to allow them to move within their environment. They have membrane bound organelle but not cell walls or chloroplasts. They must absorb nutrients by ingestion. Common name is animals ;-)
  2. Plantae are multi-cellular organisms that use photosynthesis to harness energy from sunlight. Their cells contain cell walls & chloroplasts (where cells are exposed to the sun). Common name is plants
  3. Fungi are multi-cellular organisms with no adaptations to move independently. They range in size from microscopic to the size of mushrooms (literally, of course). They absorb their nutrients from their surroundings. Common name could be mushrooms & molds
  4. Protista are marine organisms that are eukaryotoic (have membrane bound organelles) and some can photosynthesise. Common name could be algae
  5. Prokaryota (a.k.a. Moneara) are single celled, with a cell wall but with no membrane bound organelles (i.e. they have no smaller 'bits' within the cell separated by a membrane). They absorb nutrients directly across their membranes or can photosynthesise to make their own nutrients. Common name could be said to be Bacteria.

Sources: 1, 2, 3 (for Protista)

Phyla and Below

You may wish to try the following website: ITIS Database - enter a scientific or common name of an organism to get it's full taxonomic tree. For example the tree for the Panthera leo (Lion). This site also gives common names of Phylum, Class, Order & Genus - for example the lion is a member of genus Panthera ("roaring cats"). It may be slightly cumbersome but it is a way to get the info you want and is actually quite interesting once you get going, particularly if its just for your curiosity!

Additions after comments by OP

Have been hard at work, however it seems that a centralised repository is certainly elusive! I've found some sites which go a little of the way to amalgamating scientific and common names on a single page but I'm doubtful that you will be able to get much further than Phylum without having to write a script to harvest data from sites such as ITIS

  1. List of all Phyla for the Animalia Kingdom with common names.
  2. As above for Kingdom Plantae
  3. As above for Kingdom Fungi
  4. As above for Kingdom Protista
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Thanks. What you did is to describe the kingdoms in a language common people understand. That's what I'm looking for, but I'd like that kind of information for lower taxonomy levels as well, ideally in a single list. I know I can find the common names of every level using various resources (ITIS,EOL,Wikipedia), but I'm looking to automate parts of this. –  Ferdy Dec 30 '11 at 19:52
@Ferdy Well I've gone back and got you as far as phylum for four of five kingdoms (apparently there is some contention over prokaryota). I'm beginning to get the impression that the data simply doesn't exist as one long list - sorry, I tried =) –  Rory M Dec 31 '11 at 16:24
Thanks so much, that's incredibly helpful! –  Ferdy Jan 1 '12 at 13:29
"Protista are marine organisms that are eukaryotoic (have membrane bound organelles) and some can photosynthesise. Common name could be algae" - not all protozoans are marine organisms, and not all of them are algae (conversely, not all algae are protists). –  user132 Jan 2 '12 at 10:25
"Animalia are multi-cellular organisms that have adaptations to allow them to move within their environment." - sponges and a few other sessile marine organisms are still treated as animals, no? –  user132 Jan 2 '12 at 10:26

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