Subsp. or ssp. ?
Jan at PBC-THS1.PCI.CHEMIE.UNI-TUEBINGEN.DE
Tue Jan 23 11:06:16 CST 1996
Dear Martin & al.,
>Is there somebody able to give me good reasons to use ssp. as an
>abbreviation for subspecies when the Code (I have the 1983 version
>in hands) contains only examples with subsp. ?
The only reason I can see is saving some bytes in expanded nomenclatural
databases. In older literature (or recent literature written by old
fashioned authors) the abbreviation "ssp." can still be found.
Maybe an answer (concerning Botany) to the initial question is to be found in:
by the "International Working Group for Taxonomic Databases in Plant
Sciences" (TDWG), report of meetings on 9-1 Nov. 1989 and 17-18 Oct. 1990,
where in the Appendix under "8. Infraspecific marker" we read:
Composed of: exactly these abbreviations - "subsp", "var", "f.".
nb. not "ssp.", as this is ambiguous
So at least for the sake of data format compatibility (NB: "ssp." is not
really ambiguous!), this standard should be followed. I agree that validity
of names (sensu ICBN) is *not* affected by the way "subspecies" is
One funny (+/- intended?) advantage (besides legasthenic user friendliness)
of "subsp." is a representation of hierarchy (& inclusivity) in the number
The increment of 2 being clever because so even the plural forms conform
with this "rule":
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