AQUATICAL•LATIN is an ongoing project investigating the etymology of the scientific names applied to aquatic species, particularly animals such as fishes and invertebrates.

This site is intended as a resource for aquarists, naturalists, anglers, academics, divers, and anyone else curious about the meaning behind the names.

In addition to the website there is a book:

Aquatical Latin: Latin for aquarists: an etymology of tropical marine reef species.
Volume 1: Reef Fishes

This is the first in a series of books looking at the etymology of popular aquarium and angling species of fishes.

For more about the book go to: AQUATICAL•LATIN – the Book


The Lexicon is a work in progress, offering a generalised guide to the meaning of the Latin and Greek words used in the formation of the compound words used in the construction of scientific names.

Contact Us

If you’re curious about the scientific name of any particular species of aquatic animal or if you have any questions regarding the site, please contact AQUATICAL•LATIN via queries@aquaticallatin.info and we’ll do our best to answer your query.

Regarding the unusual name of this website, AQUATICAL•LATIN – the word ‘aquatical’ meaning, “of aquatic nature; having to do with water”. Although described by the OED as obsolete, I have used this word rather than the more usual ‘aquatic’ in homage to botanist William Stearn and his seminal work, Botanical Latin (1966), which I have found to be an invaluable guide to the study of the Greek and Latin words used in scientific names.