[Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Tue Oct 13 11:36:59 CDT 2020


On 13-Oct.-20 11:43 a.m., Richard Jensen via Taxacom wrote:

>  if referring to the family as a single
> entity, then treat it as singular; when there is a stated or implied
> reference to only some members of the family, or using the informal name
> (e.g., rosids, tortricids), then treat it as a plural. 


* but the main point in this is that taxa are nested individuals - the 
higher taxon is a holophyletic individual as is each species of which 
it's composed (and the species is a monophyletic individual made up of 
individual organisms). Whether you use a plural or singular depends on 
whether you're referring to all or some of the subordinate taxa as a 
collective, or to the higher taxon as a single holophyletic individual. 
You get the same thing with other collective entities - you can say "the 
United States is..." or "the United States are..." depending on the context.

fred.
===============================================

> A number of my
> botanical colleagues argued that, given the Latin origin and structure of
> the name, it requires a plural verb, as in (using my favorite plant family)
> "Fagaceae consist of trees and shrubs."  My view is that, because we are
> not writing in Latin, but using English (I won't try to deal with other
> languages), we should use English constructions, not follow Latin rules:
> thus, "Fagaceae consists of trees and shrubs."
> 
> This is done regularly in other English contexts.  We do not write "Los
> Angeles are a city in California" or "Colorado Springs are a city
> in Colorado".  In English, it is, in my experience, generally recommended
> that collective nouns (such as Tortricidae or Fagaceae) take singular
> verbs.  But, not everyone follows these recommendations.
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> Dick
> 
> 
> 
> On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 11:07 AM Robert Zuparko via Taxacom <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
> 
>> As to your point one: I can see three different explanations here:
>>
>> 1. It MAY be a matter of the perceived audience: if one is addressing
>> (either in print or in person) an audience of lepidopterists, then
>> "Tortricidae" is sufficient and adding the phrase "the family" does seem
>> redundant to me. However, if one is addressing an audience of layfolk, who
>> know little about nomenclature, emphasizing the taxonomic level could be
>> useful.
>>
>> 2. Again, when focusing on taxonomic classification, adding "the family"
>> helps add emphasis to a point one is trying to make
>>
>> 3. Some people are a bit on the, er, garrulous side.
>>
>> -Bob
>>
>> On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 5:04 AM Paul van Rijckevorsel via Taxacom <
>> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>>
>>> I agree with Ken. All three options can be correct.
>>> It depends on context and intent.
>>>
>>> Paul
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Kenneth Kinman via Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>> To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 8:59 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae
>>>
>>>
>>>>      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,
>>>>                                                        Ken
>>>>
>>>> ________________________________
>>>> 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.
>>>>
>>>> Sincerely,
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Soowon Cho
>>>> chosoowon at gmail.com
>>>> Dept Plant Medicine
>>>> Chungbuk Nat'l Univ
>>>> Cheongju, 361-763
>>>> KOREA
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>>
>> --
>> Robert Zuparko
>> Essig Museum of Entomology
>> 1101 Valley Life Sciences Building, #4780
>> University of California
>> Berkeley, CA 94720-3112
>> (510) 643-0804
>>
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> 
> 

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