Family (biology)

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Not to be confused with Gene family or Protein family. Family (biology)_sentence_0

Family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order and genus. Family (biology)_sentence_1

A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. Family (biology)_sentence_2

The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family". Family (biology)_sentence_3

What belongs to a family—or if a described family should be recognized at all—are proposed and determined by practicing taxonomists. Family (biology)_sentence_4

There are no hard rules for describing or recognizing a family. Family (biology)_sentence_5

Taxonomists often take different positions about descriptions, and there may be no broad consensus across the scientific community for some time. Family (biology)_sentence_6

The publishing of new data and opinions often enables adjustments and consensus. Family (biology)_sentence_7

Nomenclature Family (biology)_section_0

The naming of families is codified by various international bodies using the following suffixes: Family (biology)_sentence_8

Family (biology)_unordered_list_0

  • In fungal, algal, and botanical nomenclature, the family names of plants, fungi, and algae end with the suffix "", with the exception of a small number of historic but widely used names including Compositae and Gramineae.Family (biology)_item_0_0
  • In zoological nomenclature, the family names of animals end with the suffix "".Family (biology)_item_0_1

History Family (biology)_section_1

The taxonomic term familia was first used by French botanist Pierre Magnol in his Prodromus historiae generalis plantarum, in quo familiae plantarum per tabulas disponuntur (1689) where he called the seventy-six groups of plants he recognised in his tables families (familiae). Family (biology)_sentence_9

The concept of rank at that time was not yet settled, and in the preface to the Prodromus Magnol spoke of uniting his families into larger genera, which is far from how the term is used today. Family (biology)_sentence_10

Carl Linnaeus used the word familia in his Philosophia botanica (1751) to denote major groups of plants: trees, herbs, ferns, palms, and so on. Family (biology)_sentence_11

He used this term only in the morphological section of the book, discussing the vegetative and generative organs of plants. Family (biology)_sentence_12

Subsequently, in French botanical publications, from Michel Adanson's Familles naturelles des plantes (1763) and until the end of the 19th century, the word famille was used as a French equivalent of the Latin ordo (or ordo naturalis). Family (biology)_sentence_13

In zoology, the family as a rank intermediate between order and genus was introduced by Pierre André Latreille in his Précis des caractères génériques des insectes, disposés dans un ordre naturel (1796). Family (biology)_sentence_14

He used families (some of them were not named) in some but not in all his orders of "insects" (which then included all arthropods). Family (biology)_sentence_15

In nineteenth-century works such as the Prodromus of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle and the Genera Plantarum of George Bentham and Joseph Dalton Hooker this word ordo was used for what now is given the rank of family. Family (biology)_sentence_16

Uses Family (biology)_section_2

Families can be used for evolutionary, palaeontological and genetic studies because they are more stable than lower taxonomic levels such as genera and species. Family (biology)_sentence_17

See also Family (biology)_section_3

Family (biology)_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: (biology).