Primate family (The corect name)
Albertine C. Ellis-Adam
a433alb at HORUS.SARA.NL
Fri Aug 25 17:45:52 CDT 1995
> I would like to know an explanation concerning the formation of
>the family name of the genus Callithrix (a platyrrhine monkey).
>Callithrix seems to me the correct name Callithricidae, but most authors
>use Callithrichidae. I see no reason to add the suffix "chidae" once
>"thrix" is derived from greek "trichos". The word is "thrix" and the
>termination is "tricidae" is not it?
> Please send me you opinion.
> Ronaldo Alperin
The ancient Greek word for a hair is thrix (nominative, singular). The t is
softened by the h, a phenomenon called aspiration; the x at the end is
hard. In a syllabe only a single aspiration is allowed. The genitive
singular of thrix is trichos: the aspiration has shifted to the x, so the t
has lost it. (I cannot explain why, I am a botanist, not a linguist; this
is what I remember from school)
The names of higher taxa are derived from the root of a word (which is
obtained by cutting of the ending of the genitive from, in this case
trichos ->trich) followed by the appropriate suffix, -idae for family.
Result Callitrichidae, which by the way means with beautiful hairs, not
Similarly the filamentous green alga Ulothrix belongs to the Order Ulotrichales.
I hope that I have been helpful, Albertine
* Albertine C. Ellis - Adam *
o University of Amsterdam o
* Hugo de Vries Laboratorium (Dept of SpecialBotany) *
o Kruislaan 318 / 1098 SM Amsterdam o
* Tel.: xx 20 5257822 / Fax: xx 20 5257662 *
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