Why do so many species of flora and fauna have "senegalensis" in the name?

Has anyone else noticed how often a species name includes senegalensis? Does anyone know why? Do all these species originate in Senegal, West Africa?

It would seem so! I found this:
" Senegalensis and its alternative form senegalense are Latin adjectival suffixes meaning pertaining to, or originating in Senegal. They are often used as the second word of a binomial name"


It likely means they were described from Senegal, but their native range can be much wider than that.


Yes, but I wonder why so many were originally described in Senegal. In history, was Senegal a magnet for biologists, sort of like the Galápagos?

Probably because Senegal was a French colony and the French did a lot of botanical and zoological recording in their colonies. @triplel63

You see this sort of thing often. On the east coast of the US you see a lot of binomials ending in pensylvanicum because that’s where many of the Europeans first recording said species encountered them.

Here in Vietnam tonkinensis is common due to the French naming things they encountered here.


This makes a lot of sense, @earthknight. Thanks!

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Our arum lily is Zantedeschia aethiopica. The genus is an Italian botanist and aethiopica is not ‘Ethiopia’ but south of the Sahara … venture beyond the edge of the known world!

‘senegal’ would be similar, way down south somewhere, who cares if it is actually today’s Senegal or not at all.

In classical times it meant south of the known world i.e. south of Egypt and Libya.


@dianastuder Thanks for this insight.

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