[Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae

Kenneth Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 13 01:59:31 CDT 2020

     1.  I don't think it is necessarily redundant, because -idae is not only the ending for animal family names, but it is also the ending for plant subclasses (such as Rosidae).
     2.  As for being singular or plural, it depends on the context within the sentence.  Tortricidae are tortricids, so it can be plural ("Tortricidae are moths").   But "Family Tortricidae" is a single group as a taxon, especially when used as the subject of a sentence.  "Family Tortricidae is speciose".   If you don't explicitly refer to it as a family, you could say "Tortricidae are speciose" or "Tortricidae is speciose", depending the context (plural  tortricids or as a single taxon).   Likewise, you could say "Rosidae are speciose" (meaning rosids are speciose), but it would be "Rosidae is speciose" if you are referring to the subclass (a singular taxon).   Perhaps it is best to make your meaning clear by saying "Rosids are a speciose group" or "Subclass Rosidae is a speciose group".   Same for Tortricids and Family Tortricidae.
                  ---------------Hope this helps,

From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of Soowon Cho via Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2020 8:47 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Subject: [Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae

Dear members,

As a non-native English speaker, I have two questions and really hope you
could help me.
1. I feel curious about why people add "the family", "the subfamily", "the
genus", etc. in front of the scientific name in writing: for example, "the
family Tortricidae" instead of just "Tortricidae". Is there a pattern or
rule in English? I thought it is redundant when we know Tortricidae with
idae-ending means it is a family name.
2. Sometimes I see Tortricidae, Tortricinae, or genus name Tortrix is
treated as a singular, but sometimes as a plural noun. I thought, based on
the ICZN, they are basically plural, but, in many cases, they are
considered as a singular noun. Spell checker also treats them as a singular
form. This may or may not be an English question, but I hope someone please
let me know how to distinguish between the two.


Soowon Cho
chosoowon at gmail.com
Dept Plant Medicine
Chungbuk Nat'l Univ
Cheongju, 361-763
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