Genus as the species

Geoff Read at NIWA.CRI.NZ
Mon Apr 12 14:37:14 CDT 1999

Thanks for the views expressed.

Barry OConnor:
> ...  If more than one individual in the family is being referenced,
> specific names have to be given, e.g. Hillary and Chelsea Clinton visited
> Africa.  In the context of this thread, if the whole species name is
> spelled out early on, and there's only one being referenced, I can see how
> a non-taxonomist might adopt this common convention. However, in
> scientific writing, the convention has traditionally been to abbreviate
> the generic name and use the species name, rather than just using the
> generic name.

I'm all for non-stodgy presentation and in this case if the paper had for
variety sometimes  just used the genus with_the_addition_of the definite
article and said 'the Castor species reacted thusly, whereas the Pollux  did
not,' I would not have raised an eyebrow.

> How many times is "E. coli"
> referred to at all by its proper generic name?  "C. elegans" tends to be
> properly attributed more often.  On the other side, how many times have we
> heard "Drosophila" without a specific name?

Those are Latin names already or becoming English common names, at
least amongst scientists and those that refer to the results of scientists. In
my own field I would happily talk of Zostera, rather than eel grass. But I
doubt I'd use just it in a formal paper.

  Geoff Read < at>

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