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Taxonomic rank (rank, category, taxonomic category) is abstract term used in taxonomy used in scientific classification of organism. Taxonomic rank indicates the level of taxon in taxonomic hierarchy. Taxons ranked in certain taxonomic ranks are real groups of real organisms at real classification level.

Definition of taxonomic rank (there called only a rank) in International Code of Zoological Nomenclature:

The level, for nomenclatural purposes, of a taxon in a taxonomic hierarchy (e.g. all families are for nomenclatural purposes at the same rank, which lies between superfamily and subfamily). The ranks of the family group, the genus group, and the species group at which nominal taxa may be established are stated in Articles 10.3, 10.4, 35.1, 42.1 and 45.1.

—International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (1999) International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Fourth Edition. - International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, XXIX + 306 pp.

History Edit

Carl Linnaeus devised Linnaean taxonomy and he used five ranks: class, order, genus, species, and variety.

Today, nomenclature is regulated by Nomenclature Codes, which allows names divided into exactly defined ranks. Despite this there are slightly different ranks for zoology and different ranks for botany.

Ranks in zoology and in botany Edit

Main article: Rank (zoology)

There are definitions of the following taxonomic ranks in International Code of Zoological Nomenclature: superfamily, family, subfamily, tribe, subtribe, genus, subgenus, species, subspecies.

There are definitions of the following taxonomic ranks in International Code of Botanical Nomenclature: kingdom (regnum), subregnum, division or phylum (divisio, phylum), subdivisio or subphylum, class (classis), subclassis, order (ordo), subordo, family (familia), subfamilia, tribe (tribus), subtribus, genus (genus), subgenus, section (sectio), subsectio, series (series), subseries, species (species), subspecies, variety (varietas), subvarietas, form (forma), subforma.

There are definition of following taxonomic ranks in International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants: cultivar group, cultivar.

Main taxonomic ranks Edit

There are 8 main taxonomic ranks: domain, kingdom, phylum or division1,class, order, family, genus, species.

Main taxonomic ranks in more languages (zoology and botany)
Latin English Vietnamese German Spanish French Greek Arabic Mandarin
regnumkingdom Reichreinorègneβασίλειοمملكة 
phylumphylum1GiớiStammfilophylum 門 (動物)
divisiodivision2NgànhAbteilungdivisiónembranchement  門 (植物)
Notes to table
1 Phylum is used in zoology. It is at the same level as division in botany. 2 Preferred before to phylum in botany, that is accounted as identical.

Examples Edit

The usual classifications of five species follow: the fruit fly so familiar in genetics laboratories (Drosophila melanogaster), humans (Homo sapiens), the peas used by Gregor Mendel in his discovery of genetics (Pisum sativum), the "fly agaric" mushroom Amanita muscaria, and the bacterium Escherichia coli. The eight major ranks are given in bold; a selection of minor ranks are given as well.

Rank Fruit fly Human Pea Fly Agaric E. coli
Domain Eukarya Eukarya Eukarya Eukarya Bacteria
Kingdom Animalia Animalia Plantae Fungi Monera
Phylum or Division Arthropoda Chordata Magnoliophyta Basidiomycota Proteobacteria
Subphylum or subdivision Hexapoda Vertebrata Magnoliophytina Agaricomycotina
Class Insecta Mammalia Magnoliopsida Agaricomycetes Gammaproteobacteria
Subclass Pterygota Theria Magnoliidae Agaricomycetidae
Order Diptera Primates Fabales Agaricales Enterobacteriales
Suborder Brachycera Haplorrhini Fabineae Agaricineae
Family Drosophilidae Hominidae Fabaceae Amanitaceae Enterobacteriaceae
Subfamily Drosophilinae Homininae Faboideae Amanitoideae
Genus Drosophila Homo Pisum Amanita Escherichia
Species D. melanogaster H. sapiens P. sativum A. muscaria E. coli

Table Notes:

  • The ranks of higher taxa, especially intermediate ranks, are prone to revision as new information about relationships is discovered. For example, the traditional classification of primates (class Mammalia — subclass Theria — infraclass Eutheria — order Primates) has been modified by new classifications such as McKenna and Bell (class Mammalia — subclass Theriformes — infraclass Holotheria) with Theria and Eutheria assigned lower ranks between infraclass and the order Primates. See mammal classification for a discussion. These differences arise because there are only a small number of ranks available and a large number of branching points in the fossil record.
  • Within species further units may be recognised. Animals may be classified into subspecies (for example, Homo sapiens sapiens, modern humans) or morphs (for example Corvus corax varius morpha leucophaeus, the Pied Raven). Plants may be classified into subspecies (for example, Pisum sativum subsp. sativum, the garden pea) or varieties (for example, Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon, snow pea), with cultivated plants getting a cultivar name (for example, Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon 'Snowbird'). Bacteria may be classified by strains (for example Escherichia coli O157:H7, a strain that can cause food poisoning).
  • A mnemonic for remembering the order of the taxa is: Do Koalas Prefer Chocolate Or Fruit, Generally Speaking? Another easy one is Damn, Kinky People Can Often Find Great Sex. Other mnemonics are available at[1] and.[2]

Terminations of namesEdit

Taxa above the genus level are often given names based on the type genus, with a standard termination. The terminations used in forming these names depend on the kingdom, and sometimes the phylum and class, as set out in the table below.

Rank Plants Algae Fungi Animals Bacteria[3]
Division/Phylum -phyta -mycota
Subdivision/Subphylum -phytina -mycotina
Class -opsida -phyceae -mycetes -ia
Subclass -idae -phycidae -mycetidae -idae
Superorder -anae
Order -ales -ales
Suborder -ineae -ineae
Infraorder -aria
Superfamily -acea -oidea
Epifamily -oidae
Family -aceae -idae -aceae
Subfamily -oideae -inae -oideae
Infrafamily -odd[verification needed]
Tribe -eae -ini -eae
Subtribe -inae -ina -inae
Infratribe -ad

Table notes:

  • In botany and mycology names at the rank of family and below are based on the name of a genus, sometimes called the type genus of that taxon, with a standard ending. For example, the rose family Rosaceae is named after the genus Rosa, with the standard ending "-aceae" for a family. Names above the rank of family are formed from a family name, or are descriptive (like Gymnospermae or Fungi).
  • For animals, there are standard suffixes for taxa only up to the rank of superfamily.[4]
  • Forming a name based on a generic name may be not straightforward. For example, the Latin "homo" has the genitive "hominis", thus the genus "Homo" (human) is in the Hominidae, not "Homidae".
  • The ranks of epifamily, infrafamily and infratribe (in animals) are used where the complexities of phyletic branching require finer-than-usual distinctions. Although they fall below the rank of superfamily, they are not regulated under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and hence do not have formal standard endings. The suffixes listed here are regular, but informal.[5]

All taxonomic ranks Edit

There are written all taxonomic ranks including those ones that are not in use today or those ones that are identical with another ranks.

All taxonomic ranks in more languages (zoology and botany)
Latin English German French Notes
imperiumempire empire 
superphylumsuperphylumStammgruppe, Überstammsuper-phylum 
divisiodivision1Abteilungembranchement, division 
 infraclass infra-classe 
divisiodivision2Abteilungembranchement, division 
 family group   
 subfamily group   
 genus group   
sectiosection1 section 
seriesseries1 série 
 species group   
 species subgroup   
subspeciessubspeciesUnterart (Rasse)sous-espèce 
forma, morphaformZuchtformforme 
 cultivar group   
 group of breeds   
 section of breeds   
 breed, race   
 serotype sérovar 
 biotype biovar 
 pathotype pathovar 
Notes to table
1 Level in plant taxonomy. 2 Level in animal taxonomy.

References Edit

  3. Bacteriologocal Code (1990 Revision)
  4. ICZN article 27.2
  5. As supplied by Eugene S. Gaffney & Peter A. Meylan (1988), "A phylogeny of turtles", in M.J. Benton (ed.), The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods, Volume 1: Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds 157-219 (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
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