Referring to members of higher taxa

David H. Griffin griffin at kong.syr.edu
Mon Apr 10 14:07:47 EST 1995


The root -mycetes comes from the Greek word mykes (or myces), depending 
on how you want to transliterate the third letter of the alphabet, kappa. 
"Myces" is the singular nominative form and "mycetes" is the plural 
nominative form. Therefore making a pseudosingular form by dropping the 
final s is clearly an anglicisation of the word, and incorrect by the 
rules of grammar for the formal taxonomic name. When referring to one 
fungus as a member of a group, it would be better to say, for example, 
"Neurospora is a member of the Ascomycetes." The statement, "Neurospora 
is an Ascomycetes," has wrong number relationships. To drop the s, as in 
ascomycete, makes this Greek word incorrect as such, and should only be 
used informally, not as the name of a taxon. Thus, "Neurospora is an 
ascomycete." But then your reader cannot be sure if you mean to accept 
Ascomycetes as a class, or that you are just making a descriptive statement.



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