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

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Sun Oct 21 19:09:20 CDT 2012

Jim- aha! Sounds very reasonable. So maybe the next edition of the Botanical Code could benefit from a worked example of this type, instead of 2 sets of examples not like this...

If you check the list below where I have found examples it does seem most of them are base on type genera ending in -nema, or -oma, Pleurosigmataceae being an exception (based on Pleurosigma) and also Pterospermataceae based on Pterosperma. But maybe these need chasing on a case by case basis, as well as possibly others not in that list.

Cheers - Tony

From: Jim Croft [mailto:jim.croft at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 22 October 2012 10:38 AM
To: Rees, Tony (CMAR, Hobart)
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Botanical (algal) families ending in -ataceae

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 'a'.

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<mailto: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:


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<tel:%2B61%20362%20325318>)
Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000<tel:%2B61%20362%20325000>)
e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au<mailto: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
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