6
$\begingroup$

Many organisms have their common names identical to their scientific names. For example, there exist apes of the genus Gorilla known commonly as gorillas, and plants of the genus Delphinium known as delphiniums.

However, are there any examples of the common name of an organism overlapping with the scientific name of another organism, therefore causing ambiguity when the organism's name is spoken aloud? If written with correct formatting, this should not cause a problem in any case, due to the formatting specifically describing a genus/species.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For extra points, "boa constrictor" is both the common English name and the scientific genus+species name. Whereas "gorilla" is the genus and also the species, but they're not commonly referred to as "gorilla gorillas" ;-) $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Jan 27 '15 at 10:00
13
$\begingroup$

One great example I know of is the duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), often simply called a platypus, which shares its name with the Platypus genus of ambrosia beetle.

Wikipedia gives a brief history of the taxonomy of the duck-billed platypus:

The common name "platypus" is the latinisation of the Greek word πλατύπους (platupous), "flat-footed", from πλατύς (platus), "broad, wide, flat" and πούς (pous), "foot". Shaw assigned it as a Linnaean genus name when he initially described it, but the term was quickly discovered to belong already to the wood-boring ambrosia beetle genus Platypus. It was independently described as Ornithorhynchus paradoxus by Johann Blumenbach in 1800 (from a specimen given to him by Sir Joseph Banks) and following the rules of priority of nomenclature, it was later officially recognised as Ornithorhynchus anatinus. The scientific name Ornithorhynchus anatinus is derived from ορνιθόρυνχος (ornithorhynkhos), which literally means "bird snout" in Greek; and anatinus, which means "duck-like" in Latin.

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

Plants known commonly as geraniums belong to the genus Pelargonium.

Similarly, plants known commonly as cranesbills belong to the genus Geranium.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

"Armadillidium" is the name of a genus of isopods (woodlice, also called armadillo bug). The armadillo familiar to residents of the southwestern US is a mammal belong to the genus Dasypus.There are related genera going all the way through South America.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.