Taxonomy is the science (or some would say art) of classification. It comes from the Greek words 'taxis' and 'nomos' meaning respectively arrangement and law. One of the most famous taxonomies is that devised by the Swedish scientist, Carl Linnaeus.

Even though the word taxonomy is derived from the Greek the actual labelled divisions that identify one particular species are in Latin e.g. Pipistrellus pipistrellus, which is the Common Pipistrelle bat. As you will notice the name is italicised with the first half (the genus) having a capital letter whereas the second part of the name (the trivium) always begins with a lowercase letter. The following table shows the taxonomic description of the Common Pipistrelle.

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Chiroptera
Suborder Microchiroptera
Family Vespertillionidae
Genus Pipistrellus
Species Pipistrellus

The K-P-C-O-F-G-S system can be subdivided when required. So, you can have further divisions such as subclasses, suborders and even subspecies. The following list shows the taxonomy of all our British bats: