Are there any cases when the name of a genus equal to the name of a higher taxon: family, order, class, etc. in botany and zoology?

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    $\begingroup$ I doubt so.... Familiy names typically end in -cae or -dae while genus names typically end in -us/ -um/-a and others but not in -dae/-cae. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Nov 21 '17 at 17:59

I answer for botany: no.

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants has strict requirements on names:

Article 16.1 has:

The name of a taxon above the rank of family is treated as a noun in the plural and is written with an initial capital letter. (...)

Article 18.1 has:

The name of a family is a plural adjective used as a noun; it is formed from the genitive singular of a name of an included genus by replacing the genitive singular inflection (Latin -ae, -i, -us, -is; transcribed Greek -ou, -os, -es, -as, or -ous, and its equivalent -eos) with the termination -aceae (but see Art. 18.5)

And article 20.1 has instead:

The name of a genus is a noun in the nominative singular, or a word treated as such, and is written with an initial capital letter.

On later article it is explained how to latinize names, with simpler rules (compared to Latin). So genus are singular and higher rank are plural.

Additionally, for botanical nomenclature, an name for ranks between family and phylum rank is made usually by concatenating a genus name with some suffixes (which are rank specific, see article 16.3, 18.1). So reading a name, one could derive also the rank. Just few families still have a old name, but still ending with 'ae' (e.g. Compositae, Cruciferae, etc., Art 18.5). Now (just since 2011-2012 version) there are more exceptions in code, but for historical reasons and for names outside plants in stricter term.

Note: Some old names are automatically corrected with new rules (see e.g. 18.4), so we should have not equal names.

  • $\begingroup$ And what about zoological nomenclature? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Z Nov 24 '17 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Previously there were an other answer, mainly for zoological nomenclature. I think it is potentially possible: zoology is also more complex: much more diverse and sectoral. I expect that on botany, if not you, one of your colleagues, will remember some high taxa name. $\endgroup$ – Giacomo Catenazzi Nov 26 '17 at 8:34

If you take all the taxons into consideration, yes, it can sort of happen - particularly on the genus/species level. The confusion is generally avoided since species are usually referred to by genus and species, using the name twice, whereas the genus is simply referred to by the genus name.

For example, the genus Vulpes includes all true foxes. (Wikapedia)

The genus Vulpes includes multiple species, such as the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), the swift fox (Vulpes velox), etc. One of the most widely distributed species of fox, however, is called the Vulpes vulpes, also known as the red fox.

As Remi.b said in his comment, this is very unlikely to happen in higher taxons, since there are general rules that are followed in their naming, and it changes from level to level.

  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, why the downvote, I wonder. I won't bite if you drop a comment... :) $\endgroup$ – rotaredom Nov 22 '17 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ But do you know any exception when a genus name equal to the name of a higher taxon? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Z Nov 22 '17 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I see what you mean. Sorry, I was misreading the question, my bad. I'm not aware of any, but I'll dig around a bit. $\endgroup$ – rotaredom Nov 22 '17 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is confusing the term species with the specific epithet. As the species name is a binomen, i.e. composed of two words, it cannot possibly be confused with a genus name. $\endgroup$ – vkehayas Nov 23 '17 at 13:00

The purpose of nomenclature is to distinguish groups of entities that are worth distinguishing.

Giving the same name to different groups of entities would be absurd. It sometimes happens by mistake, but when such an absurdity is detected by the scientific community, the newly proposed name must be changed to be validly published (and recognized by the scientific community).

  • $\begingroup$ Does that mean that in the verified (or validated, or checked) taxonomy there are no any duplicating names of higher taxa? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Z Nov 23 '17 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ None. And, needless to say, it applies to (and across) all the three domains of life (Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya). $\endgroup$ – user37894 Nov 24 '17 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Same name on different codex are allowed (discouraged, but it is possible and name remain valid. so it is difficult to change the name again [priority]). "Recommendation 54A.1: Authors naming new taxa under this Code should, as far as is practicable, avoid using such names as already exist for zoological and bacteriological taxa.". IIRC there are few cases with the same genus name across code (but different organism). $\endgroup$ – Giacomo Catenazzi Nov 26 '17 at 8:24

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