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I'm mostly active on Wikipedia, where I'm a sysop. I made this list for Wiktionary's editors, so we can create or improve entries for any of the most common specific names, as well as those of threatened species. My personal motivation is that I'm interested in the diversity of life and its conservation, and would like to see the subject become less difficult for others with similar interests. Scientific names are often seemingly opaque in meaning, and can be intimidating and frustrating for fledgling biologists, botanists, conservationists, and lay people.

Wiktionary is becoming the go-to source for definitions. I've made these lists to encourage those who are improving Wiktionary, and who are thankfully making the biological sciences less intimidating and more approachable. Latin is very well represented on English Wiktionary, currently having more entries than any other language (including English, counted by number of entries or definitions). So I hope adding scientific Latin overlaps with the interests of Wiktionary's editors, and I hope it's not too much of a stretch to sometimes delve into the less "pure" world of New Latin and scientific translingual words.

I really do hope these lists get used by editors, and lead to a better Wiktionary.

I've also made other version which is retro-sorted, sorted by the last letter of the words/epithet, which will hopefully be useful for creating or checking entries which share a suffix. Epithets by Suffix (page 1)



  • The number gives the species count. That is the number of genre that have a species with that specific epithet. E.g. gracilis 2140 means there are 2140 species with gracilis in the binomial name: Abietinaria gracilis, Abronia gracilis, Acalolepta gracilis and 2137 others.
  • Highlighted epithets are in the binomial name of one or more threatened species (via IUCN Red List 2011)
  • Strike throughs means there is already a Latin or Translingual definition. But just because there's a strikethrough, doesn't mean you can't improve the entry.
  • Green highlights are personal requests (bonus points!)
  • 82 of the top 100 have a Latin or translingual Wiktionary entry, at original time of List creation.


  • Catalogue of Life, database download "2011AC_26July". All species epithets across all domains of life were included. Trailing commas or periods have been stripped. Non-ascii characters have been buggered up in UTF8/Latin1 translation.
  • IUCN database downloaded 2011-09-08. Highlighted species assessed to be threatened (critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable to extinction). Ignored subspecies, stocks, and subpopulations, as well as species which are Extinct in the Wild, Near Threatened, Data Deficient, etc.
  • Wiktionary-en 2011-09-04 database dump: Strikethroughs are if there is an exact matching lowercase entry in en-wikt which belongs to at least one category starting with "Latin" or "Translingual" (I missed "Category:Taxonomic names" and Category:New Latin, sorry.)
  • English translations were added by hand, largely sourced from Wiktionary. (Deleted in a formatting refresh. Might put them back later.)
  • Differences from my previous lists: Subspecies and varieties were ignored. Much larger database (EOL vs IUCN Red List). I haven't included the full list of species names this time (for space considerations). Please request any other data that you might find useful.

To do[edit]

Braindump of ideas. No promises that I'll ever do any of these, but I'll be happy to help if you want to try yourself.

Epithet entries

  • If there is one, include reference to identical genus names (done in 2015 list)
  • Group entries which only differ in inflection or gender, e.g. elongata, elongatus, elongatum done in 2015 list
  • Group entries which only differ in punctuation, e.g. novae-zelandiae and novaezelandiae done in 2015 list
  • Group entries containing alternate forms, e.g. laevicollis and levicollis
  • Include the full binomial when there's only a single use of the epithet (done in 2015 list)
  • Add kingdom(s) or commonly known rank, e.g. Laubuca caeruleostigmata (fish)
  • Include synonyms if they are common enough (done)
  • List threatened species count rather than using yellow highlight
  • Note with "Check for Latin" when existing entry does not containing Latin heading (nor Translingual), rather than using strikethroughs.


  • Automate refreshing of the lists from various sources (Wiktionary for strikethroughs, catalogueoflife for entries, IUCN for red list)
  • Use other sources for taxonomic names, e.g. EOL, Wiktionary, Wikispecies
  • Automate strikethroughs (or removal) of completed entries
  • Automate uploading of multi-page lists

Further lists, sorting and ranking

  • Hit count ranking: Prioritize the most commonly seen epithets by creating a ranking based on the relative popularity of the associated Wikipedia species articles (i.e. based on total hit counts of species with the epithet)
  • List of top epithets / Genuses that have existing non-Latin/Translingual definitions
  • Shortest and longest words
  • Lists of other taxonomic ranks
    • Genus lists (preferably based on hit counts)
  • List just for threatened species
  • Show but de-prioritize epithets which are used in synonyms only
  • Ancient Greek - extract Ancient Greek terms from taxonomic entries and list ones needing entries


  • Create a guide to creating new Wiktionary entries, giving the best examples
  • Analysis / report progress in creating new entries

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