parsing taxonomic rank

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Mon Jun 25 09:27:05 CDT 2001

At 06:52 PM 6/22/01 -0400, you wrote:

>If I wish to have a good chance developing rules for the machine
>generation of the taxonomic rank of a taxon name based on Latin
>grammar or other formal principles, should I be reading a textbook or
>just ICZN and <whatever> for plants. If a textbook, which one?

Like the Botanical Code, the ICZN also controls the endings of FAMILY-GROUP
names (Superfamily (-oidea), Family (-idae), subfamily (-inae), tribe (-ini)
and subtribe (-ina). (see Art. 29.2)

Higher categories have not standard endings.  AND beware, genus-group and
specie-group names can also have the SAME ENDINGS, for example, Xylotina or
Ranoidea, are valid generic names; Collocalia terrareginae is a valid
species gorup name.  Because of this, one CAN NOT write a parsing algorithm
for zoological names.

While an effort was made by some to make the new Edition of the ICZN more
emendable to computerization, etc., the conservatives rejected the proposed

Oh, well ...

F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., ARS, USDA
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C. 20560-0169
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at
visit our Diptera site at

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