∞ generated and posted on 2016.03.29 ∞

Latin or Latinized, species-level descriptor of an organism.

A Binomial, literally 'two names', is the standard, 'scientific' means of specifying an organism's species name, consisting in all cases both the specific epithet, which is the actual species designation, and also the name of the species' genus, since many species have the same specific epithet, but in principle no two species should share the same binomial.

Binomials, a.k.a., species' 'scientific names', consist of a combination of a species' genera and what is known as the specific name or specific epithet. Both are italicized when typed, or underlined when written. Underlining, in fact, can be viewed as the norm and italics as an alternative to be used when explicitly available (i.e., such as when word processing).

While the genera can be used alone (e.g., Escherichia), the specific epithet can only be used in combination with the genus name, i.e., Escherichia coli. Note, too, that the genus name, that is, the genera, is capitalized while the specific epithet never is. In addition, the genus name can be abbreviated, giving rise to the E. of E. coli, while the specific epithet is never abbreviated.

It is important to keep in mind that the scientific names of organisms ultimately consist of far more than just these two names since taxonomic categories, such as order and family, etc., exist above the level of genera (domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and specific epithet are the major taxonomic categories).

The following video does a great job describing just what a binomial is and, as important, how to properly represent binomals in the scientific literature, as well as on exams!