Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The scientific name of all organisms is based in Latin or Greek and consists of at least two parts and often a third. Also, the last name of the author who described the species is sometimes included (not so here). The first name indicates the genus and is always capitalized. The second name, which is not capitalized, along with the first name represents the species. Some species have a third name that indicates a subspecies. Subspecies status is applied to distinct populations that are geographically separated. Individuals of different subspecies within a species could interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Individuals of different species do not naturally interbreed or would not produce fertile offspring.
No two animals are allowed to have the same scientific name. A species will possess a list of invalid scientific names due to a history of taxonomic revisions and a variety of expert opinions as to the identity of the species across its range. Often species with distinct color forms will have many invalid names because the various forms were initially thought to be distinct species.