The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is an organization dedicated to "achieving stability and sense in the scientific naming of animals". Founded in 1895, it currently comprises 24 commissioners from 18 countries.


The ICZN is governed by the "Constitution of the ICZN", which is usually published together with the ICZN Code. Members are elected by the Section of Zoological Nomenclature, established by the
International Union of Biological Sciences The International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operat ...
(IUBS). The regular term of service of a member of the Commission is 6 years. Members can be re-elected up to a total of three full six-year terms in a row. After 18 continuous years of elected service, a break of at least 3 years is prescribed before the member can stand again for election.


Since 2014, the work of the Commission is supported by a small secretariat based at the
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, in
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. Previously, the secretariat was based in London and funded by the International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature. The Commission assists the zoological community "through generation and dissemination of information on the correct use of the scientific names of animals". The ICZN publishes the
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * C ...
(usually referred to as "the Code" or "the ICZN Code"), a widely accepted
convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * Convention (meeting), meeting of a (usually large) group of individuals and/or companies in a ...
containing the rules for the formal scientific naming of all
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

s that are treated as
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

s. New editions of the Code are elaborated by the Editorial Committee appointed by the Commission. The 4th edition of the Code (1999) was edited by seven people. The Commission also provides rulings on individual problems brought to its attention, as arbitration may be necessary in contentious cases, where strict adherence to the Code would interfere with stability of usage (e.g., see
conserved name A conserved name or ''nomen conservandum'' (plural ''nomina conservanda'', abbreviated as ''nom. cons.'') is a scientific name that has specific nomenclatural protection. That is, the name is retained, even though it violates one or more rules whic ...
). These rulings are published in the ''Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature''. Starting in 2017, the ''Bulletin'' became an online-only journal and joined
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, which hosts volumes 65 (2008) onwards of the ''Bulletin''.

Executive Secretaries

* ( - 2003) Andrew Wakeham-Dawson * (2003 - 2008) Andrew Polaszek * (2008 - 2016) Ellinor Michel * (2016 – 2018) Martyn E. Y. Low * (2018 - Present) Gwynne Lim

See also

International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, ...


External links

Text of the Code

ICZN ZooBank
''The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature''
via BioOne {{DEFAULTSORT:International Commission On Zoological Nomenclature Zoological nomenclature Scientific organizations established in 1895 International scientific organizations Naming organizations