[Taxacom] Botanical (algal) families ending in -ataceae

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Sun Oct 21 18:38:00 CDT 2012

Consulted a local Latin scholar and the word is it is a Greek thing.
Something about Latinization of neuter nouns of greek origin, yada, yada,
yada, beating me about the head with a copy of Stearn's Botanical Latin'.

For example, the plural of stoma is stomata, thus the family from the genus
stem Melastoma (an non-alga, btw) is Melastomataceae. -nema, -stigma,
-sigma, -sperma are also Greekish. Brought to you be the letters 'm' and

Genus stems ending in -is also do something weird, and I suspect the Greeks
are involved here too: Xyridaceae, Orchidaceae, Grammitidaceae, Iridaeae,
Centrolepidaceae, Pteridaceae, Dipteridaceae, etc.


On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM, <Tony.Rees at csiro.au> wrote:

> Dear Taxacomers,
> I am trying to reconcile variant spellings which have crept into my taxon
> lists from a range of print and electronic sources, and have arrived at
> mainly (exlusively?) algal families cited as ending in -ataceae in some
> sources vs. -aceae in others, for example Skeletonomataceae Lebour, 1930,
> cited in Round et al. "Biology of Diatoms", 1990, vs. Skeletonemaceae
> (present usage in AlgaeBase and elsewhere), both the same taxon based on
> the type genus Skeletonema. There are also some 20+ other cases including
> (e.g.) Acanthocerataceae, Borzinemataceae, Dicranemataceae,
> Gomphonemataceae, Goniodomataceae, Monostromataceae, Myrionemataceae,
> Nemastomataceae, Neonemataceae, Pascherinemataceae, Phragmonemataceae,
> Pleurosigmataceae, Pterospermataceae and more, from a range of sources,
> seemingly all algal families so far as I can tell.
> I cannot find anything in the most recent botanical Code supporting this
> type of formation of family names so was wondering what the basis might be
> and whether there is any reason not to go with the shorter form as correct.
> However the "long form" is definitely still in circulation as a search of
> Google scholar will attest, example:
> http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=skeletonemataceae+&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5
> On the other hand there are adjacent families - for example
> Thalassiosiraceae in diatoms, close to Skeletonem[at]ceae, seemingly never
> encountered in the "longer" format.
> I was thinking that maybe it might depend on the original spelling as
> proposed, and whether mandatory corrections may then apply or not. Any
> advice (particularly from algologists maybe) would be appreciated.
> Regards - Tony
> Tony Rees
> Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
> CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
> GPO Box 1538,
> Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
> Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
> Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
> e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
> Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/
> Biodiversity informatics research activities:
> http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
> Personal info:
> http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566
> LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tony-rees/18/770/36
> nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of
> these methods:
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
'Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise.
- Pierre Beaumarchais
'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause
and reflect.'
- Mark Twain
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of
doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost

More information about the Taxacom mailing list