Questions tagged [taxonomy]

Questions on the classification of biological organisms, and the methods used for classifying them.

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What author citation and abbreviation does (would) a monarch or a crown prince get after publishing a new taxon name?

Even though taxonomic rules appear to be silent about this (I've checked ICN Art. 46 and ICZN Art. 51), author citations, as well as abbreviations, are usually based on a surname. However, monarchs ...
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Can 'human' become a genus due to space colonization?

I have read that during the Second World War, some mosquitoes got trapped in the London underground railway system. The mosquitoes never got out and eventually they became a new species by themselves. ...
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3answers
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Insect identification: white spotted beetle

3 pairs of legs, a pair of antenna, wings absent, compound eye, 4-6 centimeter approx. in size. I found this beetle at my door, in Pune, India.
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Why isn't a virus “alive”?

The recent news about a new supermassive virus being discovered got me thinking about how we define viruses as non-living organisms whilst they are bigger than bacteria, and much more complex than we ...
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3answers
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Why is Portuguese man o' war considered a colony?

The wikipedia entry on the Portuguese man o' war says: ... the Portuguese man o' war is ... not actually a single multicellular organism but a colonial organism made up of many highly specialized ...
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2answers
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What could the etymology of Phallodriline be?

I'm reading about a series of gutless worms described in several papers as phallodrilines. A search in the World Register of Marine Species shows that there is a subfamily called "Phallodrilinae", but ...
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When a 'v' letter should be changed to 'w' in botanical nomenclature?

When should be 'v' changed to 'w' in botanical names? (especially ones derived from names originally written in cyrillics). The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants says ...
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1answer
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Can prawns be classified as fish, or is their position ambiguous?

Today a zoologist told me that prawns and fish are very similar, but zoologists/taxonomists have put them in different categories because their distinction is unclear (like hydrogen in the periodic ...
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Eukaryotic DNA polymerase in Leading and Lagging Strand

Different books say a different specifications on which eukaryotic DNA polymerase work in leading strand and which DNA polymerase work in lagging strand. TL,DR: Which one is reality? and if there ...
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1answer
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What does the species name 'fistula' mean?

Cassia fistula is tree with yellow flowers. As a medical student what amazes me is that the word fistula implies other meanings. A fistula, at least in medical science refers to a tract with two ...
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1answer
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Meaning of the word Oleracea

What does "oleracea", as appears in numerous plant species (scientific) names, mean? Examples: Euterpa oleracea, Brassica oleracea, Portulaca oleracea, Acmella oleracea, Spilanthes oleracea.
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What defines a single organism?

I suppose what prompts me to ask this question is my wondering if it is possible to have a multicellular prokaryotic organism. For instance, can a biofilm be considered a single organism? Why or why ...
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Where can I find a compendium of microorganisms?

I recently bought a microscope hoping to learn more about algae and bacteria and stuff. I've collected a few samples of pond water and found tons of algae and stuff, but I have no idea what to call ...
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What is the difference between taxonomical aids Flora, Manual and Catalogue?

The three type of books mentioned above are taxonomical aids that offer information about species found in an area. However, the exact difference between them is not clear to me. Please explain.
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Help me identify Grasshopper

I found this Grasshopper in Goa/India. It was about 2cm long. I suspect it is from Cataloipus genus or Gomphocerinae subfamily. Am i correct or it also seems to be juvenile from some other species?
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How many kingdoms are there actually?

I am wanting to learn (memorise) some of the tree of life; the classification of organisms. So I have come across a lot of kingdoms in my research. Basically, I don’t want to waste my time learning ...
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Umbrella term for “parts of the brain”

I am looking for an umbrella term for general "parts of the brain", esp. for (somehow arbitrary) "subsets of neurons". For the tree of life there is an umbrella term for all kinds of taxonomic groups ...
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2answers
543 views

What does it mean to share similarities among living organisms “both horizontally and vertically”?

I came across the following lines in a textbook (NCERT biology for class 11). Systematic and monumental description of life forms, brought in, out of necessity, detailed systems of identification, ...
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Why are Excavata called “Excavata”?

The explanation given in my textbook is: Some members of this diverse group also have an “excavated” feeding groove on one side of the cell body. (Campbell Biology) This still isn't clear, ...
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Taxonomic hierarchy VS Hierarchical classification?

What are the differences between the two terms? I'm asked to identify the taxonomic hierarchy of an animal based on the hierarchical classification. Are they talking about the pyramid of "domain, ...
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1answer
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Helix aspersa or Cornu aspersum

The common garden snail was originally assigned as Helix aspersa and stayed that way for over 200 years. Recently, some biologists assigned it to the genus or subgenus Cornu renaming it to Cornu ...
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1answer
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Looking for the closest example of life forms similar to some mathematical patterns

Caveat: this is my first question here, it is quite interdisciplinary, but I hope to be in the correct place to ask. I am a user of Mathematics Stack Exchange since some years ago, and this question ...
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2answers
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Why are bovines different genera if they can interbreed?

Why are bovinae a "subfamily", above Genus, when members can interbreed? Some like the beefalo are fertile, which is the normal defining characteristic of a species. And Genus are groups more ...
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Skull mystery on beach

The skull was found on a beach on the Sechelt inlet on Canada's pacific coast. A marine environment. What species is this skull from?
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Family tree for edible plants?

I am looking for a family tree for plants, particularly veg / herbs / fruit. Something similar to: If it could be slightly less technical than all the Latin ...
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What is the current status of the taxon Crocodylus raninus?

What is the current status of the taxon Crocodylus raninus, the Borneo Crocodile? See Wikipedia Is it now a valid species, a subspecies of Crocodylus porosus (The Saltwater Crocodile) or merely a ...
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Is there a downloadable list of all species along with their traditional classification?

I'm looking for a downloadable list of all known (or better said, online documented) species in this straightforward format, as an example the European Frog: Kingdom: Animalia Division: Chordata ...
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1answer
778 views

Is a lion a bony fish?

If you ask Wikidata "Does the species lion (Q140) have a parent taxon line up to the Osteichthyes (Q27207, bony fishes)?", it answers yes: ...
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How does taxonomy work? The case of the Avian Dinosaurs

I recently discovered that the class Aves (or Birds) has been renamed Avian Dinosaurs. My question is when this taxonomic denomination achieved the consensus of the scientific community and through ...
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What is a “Valid Species”?

I read in a reference book on Google Books (Biology of Termites: a Modern Synthesis, eds. Bignell, Roisin, and Lo) that the termite Heterotermes perfidus found on the South Atlantic island of St ...
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What are the sufficient criteria that make an entity a living homo sapiens? [closed]

When I say criteria I mean like x biological functions or y genetics. If it were to be appearance,anatomy. A corpse completely looks like a man. Moreover a person who has had their 4 limbs amputated, ...
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Laurasia and Gondwana [closed]

The Cambrian explosion was 540 mya. Laurasia and Gondwana didnt collide until 330 mya. So for 210 million years the land was divided into two large continents. Plants and insects had already colonized ...
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Are there species which is debatable if they should be classified as animals or plants?

I'm watching a sci fi series and a character who is a biologist claims "even on Earth there are species which is debatable if they should be classified as animals or plants". I looked for examples of ...
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Database for Macroinvertebrate Taxonomy

I compiled different data sets of invertebrate occurrences across some countries and now I want to ensure that all the taxonomic information is homogenized and correct. To this end, I am looking for a ...
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Is there a way tell apart dinosaurs from similar extinct reptiles?

When I was a child, I thought I knew what a dinosaur was. But, as I grew older, I was told that many of the extinct species that I thought were dinosaurs (dimetrodons, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, etc.) ...
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1answer
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Do Osteichthyes fishes have any cartilage?

Higher vertebrates, such as mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have both bone and cartilage. But do Osteichthyes fish (Bony fish) have any cartilage? Or do they only have bones? I've searched ...
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Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?

After my online research on the subject, I learnt that, biologically speaking, many scientists believe that there is no such thing as a race. Homo sapiens as a species is only 200,000 years old, which ...
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267 views

What are the differences between insects and spiders?

I have always been told that a spider is not an insect, since the former has 8 legs and the latter 6 legs. Is it just a matter of definition and spiders could have been defined as "8-legged insects"? ...
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1answer
54 views

What sauropod genera had a double row of chevron bones in the tail?

I know that Diplodocus is marked by the feature of having a double row of or "double-beamed" chevron bones in the tail, but how diagnostic is this feature if several other sauropods have it? I mean, ...
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1answer
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How to define ammonites?

I miss the definition of ammonite. In my opinion, many authors confuse the term "Ammonite" and "Ammonoid". Ammonoids (Ammonoidea) are large group of cephalopods including for example goniatites (...
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How do we know that ammonites are a kind of cephalopod rather than another type of mollusc?

On a recent fossil hunting trip, I found a small fossil that an expert identified for me as an ammonite beak. He told me such fossils are not uncommon, but are not normally found with their parent ...
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How are asexual species classified?

Are there multiple distinct genetic lineages of asexual species that are closely enough related to not be considered distinct or does any genetic change result in a new species? I would assume there'...
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1answer
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Why is Cannabis Sativa considered a distinct form of Cannabis?

My understanding is that the word Sativa is Latin and means "cultivated." See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sativum Since all cannabis consumed by people is cultivated and grown from seed, ...
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Did Plant Cells Evolve from Animal, Protist, or Fungal Cells?

I know protists and animals preceded plants but I am unaware of when fungi arose in relation to plants. At the moment, I cannot find a resource stating how plants evolved from existing kingdoms, or ...
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What is (probably) the closest living relative of the trilobite?

The trilobites vanished from the fossil record many millions of years ago, but they were obviously arthropods of some sort. Do we know which animals are their closest living relatives? I've heard both ...
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If birds are dinosaurs, then are mammals reptiles?

I'm just curious - it seems generally accepted that birds are dinosaurs. If that's the case, then can we call all mammals reptiles? Can we go even further and call humans amphibians? And since single-...
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Is Wikipedia a good source of taxonomy? [duplicate]

I have been quite interested in biology lately,and I would like to know whether it is a good choice to look up taxonomic information there.
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Why aren't mammals and reptiles considered amphibians?

We've all heard it: birds descend from dinosaurs, so they're dinosaurs too. But this got me thinking: doesn't this mean that, for instance, all terrestrial vertebrates – including humans – are ...
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Using spp. for taxa other than Genus

Can spp. be used for taxa other than genus ? For example Noctuidae spp. meaning certain genera in the Noctuidae family.

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