Rap team members on expedition to the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana, holding a caecilian species.
Once a species is confirmed as unique it has to be formally described and assigned a scientific name before it can be officially referred to as "new to science".
The combination of a generic and specific name (e.g., Homo sapiens or Mantis religiosa) serves as an identifier for each species. The generally accepted rule is that the name should be based on either Latin or Greek roots, but examples such as Preseucoila imallshookupis (a wasp, named by an Elvis Presley fan) shows that some taxonomists aren’t always limited by this rule.
Species descriptions are usually highly technical and outline the characteristics that make the species unique. They include a detailed description of behavior and, more recently, its genetic makeup. Finally, the description must be formally published in a recognized scientific publication. Once in print, the species is formally accepted by science and given the equivalent of a legal status that can be used by conservationists to protect it.