[Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae (s'more)

Tim Dickinson tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca
Tue Oct 13 13:08:49 CDT 2020

I agree with Fred, logic (and context) are everything. "The Torticidae 
is a family of..." but "The Tortricidae studied here are ..."

Personally, I prefer to avoid prefixing a family or genus name with "the 
family" or "the genus" unless that is called for, again, by the context, 
perhaps to avoid confusion. Probably it's a conditioned response to 
having grown up with Strunk and White's 'The Elements of Style,' and 
seek to omit needless words where possible.


> Subject:
> Re: [Taxacom] the family Tortricidae or just Tortricidae
> From:
> "Frederick W. Schueler" <bckcdb at istar.ca>
> Date:
> 2020-10-13, 12:36 p.m.
> To:
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> 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. 

<Tim Dickinson
<Senior Curator Emeritus
<ROM Green Plant Herbarium (TRT)
<Department of Natural History
<Royal Ontario Museum
<100 Queen's Park
<Toronto  ON
<Phone:  (416) 782 1607     FAX:  (416) 586 7921
<E-mail:  tim.dickinson at utoronto.ca  -  ORCID ID http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1366-145X
<URL: http://www.rom.on.ca/en/collections-research/rom-staff/tim-dickinson
<URL: http://www.eeb.utoronto.ca/people/d-faculty/Dickinson.htm?quot;%20title=
<URL: http://labs.eeb.utoronto.ca/dickinson/NABFH-I/ (publications on Crataegus)

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