The current taxonomy has family names like Canidae and Felidae. But Felidae has sub families like Felinae and Pantherinae. Roaring cats and non-roaring cats. My question is based on the fact that we can have common words for these families based in Latin: Felines, Canines, Pantherines. Can every family in the taxonomy be represented by this latter form? Is Pantherine a valid name? Is was created by dropping the a from the subfamily but caninine was created by dropping the da from the main family and replacing with in.


Is "Pantherine" a valid vernacular name for this group in English? Sure, although "panther" is much clearer ("Pantherine" in English would mean "like a panther", not "a panther"). Also, many family names are fairly obscure: even a pretty well-known group, like Apidae, would become "Apinine" in your scheme, which is less clear to me than "a family of bees".

Is it a valid family name? No. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN Code), which governs all scientific names for animals, says:

Article 29.2. Suffixes for family-group names. The suffix -OIDEA is used for a superfamily name, -IDAE for a family name, -INAE for a subfamily name, -INI for the name of a tribe, and -INA for the name of a subtribe. These suffixes must not be used at other family-group ranks. The suffixes of names for taxa at other ranks in the family-group are not regulated. [emphasis mine]

Family names that don't have an "-idae" suffix need to be corrected (ICZN Code Article

Note that the ICZN Code doesn't cover other ranks in the family-group or above.

  • $\begingroup$ I think OP is getting at the fact that certain non-formal names are "valid" in English to refer to members of a group, hence: scarabaeid, coleopteran, neopteran, etc. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Jul 3 '15 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I think the common English form are valid too. I would however like to know the correct forms for singular and plural in zoological and botanical names since comman names are not always obvious. I would assume all nouns there are in plural since they are talking about groups. And I assume the form is neutral. But I see words like Goniotrichum which is singular neutral so I wonder if I can change to Goniotricha ? Or is there some article I can read that would show how to convert all latin taxa names to common forms? like deuterostomia to deuterostomes. $\endgroup$ – Anoop Alex Jul 3 '15 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ And you say Apidae would become Apinine but in my system it would be Apeidos since wiktionary lists eidos as the singular form of idae. $\endgroup$ – Anoop Alex Jul 3 '15 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ Goniotrichum is a genus name, which are usually singular nouns -- a name like Homo sapiens means "[a] sapient [adjective] Human [noun]". IMO you would refer to "Goniotrichum species", rather than "Goniotrichums". $\endgroup$ – Gaurav Jul 6 '15 at 17:56

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