Taxonomy mnemonic

The hierarchy of scientific classification

Taxonomy mnemonics are used to memorize the scientific classification applied in taxonomy. They are usually constructed with a series of words that begin with the letters KPCOFGS, corresponding to the initials of the primary taxonomic ranks. Words beginning with D (corresponding to domain) are sometimes added to the beginning of the sequence, and words beginning with S (corresponding to subspecies) are sometimes added at the end of the sequence.

For example:

King Phillip came over for great spaghetti[1] has the first letter of each word corresponding in order to the first letter of the descending order of scientific classification.

Mnemonic Zoology term
King Kingdom
Phillip Phylum
Came Class
Over Order
For Family
Great Genus
Spaghetti Species

Zoology mnemonicsEdit

Zoology mnemonics, which are used to memorize the scientific taxonomic classification system, include:

  • "Do kindly place candy out for good students"
  • "Keep pond clean or fish get sick"[1]

Botany mnemonicsEdit

Botanical taxonomy uses the rank of division in place of phylum. Some botany mnemonics follow one of the "King Phillip" variants, with David in place of Phillip.

In Pop CultureEdit

  • In the Community episode "Virtual Systems Analysis" (S03E16), the character of Pierce Hawthorne uses the mnemonic "Kevin, Please Come Over For Gay Sex."

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Evans, Rod L. (2007). Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge: The Book of Mnemonic Devices. Penguin. ISBN 1440622078.