[Taxacom] Taxon suffix

Tony Rees tonyrees49 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 13:30:27 CST 2015

Hi Alan,

Because the scientific names for families (in zoology) all end with -idae
(e.g. Canidae: dog family, Hominidae: humans and relatives), you will quite
frequently find this transliterated into vernacular name equivalents
(canid, hominid, both can be reasonably interpreted as belonging to the
equivalent families), the same occasionally for subfamilies which always
end in -inae (Homininae -> hominin for example). Sometime you see the same
for superfamily (-oidea gets translated to -oid in the vernacular name
equivalent), orders may be -ida or -ea (giving -idan, -ean) and more (for
example a cetacean belongs to order Cetacea, = whales and their relatives).

However there are lots of "popular" cases of -id, -oid, -idan etc. which
have not been formed from these bases so it is a possible indication only
so far as the reader is concerned, with many exceptions. Also above
superfamily, zoological endings are not very standardized, for example
"Arachnida" (giving arachnid) is a class, not an order... To confuse things
further, botanists use -idae for subclasses, not families, thus a
Magnoliid, for example, would be a member of that subclass if it is still

So there is something of a convention rather than a general rule, with many
exceptions, special cases, traps for young players, and more, however you
may find a core of sense there sometimes...

Hope this helps,

Regards - Tony

Tony Rees, New South Wales, Australia

On 4 November 2015 at 23:04, alan seegert <zemmo at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Is there a generally accepted set of rules used to determine the ending of
> various taxa? The -id suffix, for example, as in canid, arachnid, et al.
> How about Coleopterid vs Coleopteran. Odonate? Any help or link
> appreciated. I have been told that -id is a Family ending, at least in
> entomology, but that doesn't seem to hold up.
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