By Ben Monreal

Most publicly-accessible airports worldwide are formally assigned both a three-letter IATA code and a four-letter ICAO code. Logan Airport—formally General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport—is BOS in the IATA system and KBOS in the ICAO.

All known species of living things can be formally assigned a name in binomial nomenclature, like Homo sapiens, by genus and species. (Note that the adjectival form of “genus” is “general”—hence “General aviation.”)

There are a handful of lucky coincidences between airport names and zoological and botanical genuses—where a plant or animal genus happens to also be an IATA or ICAO code. That's what happens in this puzzle—we’ve got a round-the-world itinerary in which each leg’s origin is named by clueing their airport, and each destination is named by clueing an animal or plant. If you identify all of the clues and pictures, you’ve got a whole itinerary. The clues are narrow but inexact, the photos are ... well, if you can tell Kentucky bluegrass from a picture of sod you’re a better botanist than I am. But the correspondence between clues and pictures should make everything unambiguous. The photos are all of an extremely common member of the genus; the enumeration should break any major ambiguity when needed.

Departure Airport Arrival Organism
Phoenix Mesa GaTeway Airport (KIWA) Pan troglodYtes, the common chimp
PattaNi Airport (PAN) Musa × paraDisiaca, the Linnaean edible banana
SAn Antonio de los Banos Airfield (MUSA) KaLi tragus, the common Western tumbleweed
ALice International Airport (KALI) Sus scrofA, the pig
Spirit OF St Louis Airport (SUS) Boa constrictor, the . . . uh . . . boa constrictor
Boma AirPort (BOA) ArA macao, the scarlet macaw
Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA) HusO huso, the Beluga sturgeon
Soroti Airport (HUSO) Mus musCulus, the house mouse
MinAmi Airport (MUS) Bos tauruS, the domestic cow
General Edward LawrenCe Logan International Airport (BOS) PoA pratensis, Kentucky bluegrass
Salgado FIlho International Airport (POA) Kiwa hirSuta, the furry lobster

Other than the clue and picture, the only other information that varies from one pass to another are the departure gate and arrival gate. Those are your indexes. Index into the airport’s full name by the departure gate. Index into the species name by the arrival gate. Follow the itinerary from gate to gate—as the flavortext indicates, this is a round trip starting in Phoenix—and you'll get


That's TYNDALL AFB, PAROS, CASCAIS, three airports whose IATA codes spell PAM PAS CAT.

The answer is PAMPAS CAT. This is a pampas cat: