The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature is the system of rules and recommendations originally adopted by the International Congresses of Zoology and, since 1973, by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS).

The objects of the Code are to promote stability and universality in the scientific names of animals and to ensure that the name of each taxon is unique and distinct. All its provisions and recommendations are subservient to those ends and none restricts the freedom of taxonomic thought or actions.

Priority of publication is a basic principle of zoological nomenclature; however, under conditions prescribed in the Code its application may be modified to conserve a long-accepted name in its accustomed meaning. When stability of nomenclature is threatened in an individual case, the strict application of the Code may under specified conditions be suspended by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.

Precision and consistency in the use of terms are essential to a code of nomenclature. The meanings given to terms used in this Code are those shown in the Glossary. Both this Preamble and the Glossary are integral parts of the Code's provisions.

The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is the author of the Code.