There are two widely recognized species of wolves in the world, the red and the gray.
However, there is debate over how many species of wolf exist and if there are different subspecies of the gray wolf.
Additionally, there is a little-known canid, which lives in the Ethiopian highlands called that is thought to be a very close relative of the wolf.
Classification, or taxonomy, is the system of categorizing all living things.
Living things are separated into different categories based on similarities and/or common ancestry.
Every living thing on earth has a unique scientific name consisting of two words in Latin, which are always italicized.
The first letter of the first part of the name, the genus, is always capitalized in writing, while that of the second part, the species, is not.
Therefore, the gray wolf’s scientific name is Canis lupus.
This naming system is referred to as binary nomenclature and is the same all around the world, which helps people who speak different languages talk about the same species without question.
Scientific names are often descriptive and give insight into one species’ relationship to another species.
Unlike scientific names, common names are not always unique and vary by culture and geographic region.
For example, a gray wolf living in a forested area might be called a “timber wolf” while a gray wolf living on the tundra might be called a tundra wolf.