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Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical
taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, ...
s in
Linnaean taxonomy Linnaean taxonomy can mean either of two related concepts: # the particular form of biological classification (taxonomy) set up by Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblemen ...
; it is classified between
order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, and the habit of achieving a ...
and
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biolog ...
. A family may be divided into
subfamilies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, ...
, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example,
walnut A walnut is the nut of any tree of the genus '' Juglans'' (Family Juglandaceae), particularly the Persian or English walnut, '' Juglans regia''. A walnut is the edible seed of a drupe, and thus not a true botanical nut. It is commonly co ...

walnut
trees and
hickory Hickory is a type of tree, comprising the genus ''Carya'', which includes around 18 species. Five or six species are native to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of cou ...

hickory
trees belong to the family
Juglandaceae The Juglandaceae are a plant family known as the walnut family. They are tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usag ...
, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family". What belongs to a family—or if a described family should be recognized at all—are proposed and determined by practicing taxonomists. There are no hard rules for describing or recognizing a family, but in plants, they can be characterized on the basis of both vegetative and reproductive feature of plant species. Taxonomists often take different positions about descriptions, and there may be no broad consensus across the scientific community for some time. The publishing of new data and opinions often enables adjustments and consensus.


Nomenclature

The naming of families is codified by various international bodies using the following suffixes: *In fungal, algal, and
botanical nomenclature Botanical nomenclature is the formal, scientific naming of plants. It is related to, but distinct from Alpha taxonomy, taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is concerned with grouping and classifying plants; botanical nomenclature then provides names for the r ...
, the family names of plants, fungi, and algae end with the suffix " -aceae", with the exception of a small number of historic but widely used names including
Compositae The family Asteraceae, alternatively Compositae, consists of over 32,000 known species of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 6 ...
and
Gramineae Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). ...
. *In zoological nomenclature, the family names of animals end with the suffix " -idae".
/ref>


History

The taxonomic term ' was first used by French botanist
Pierre Magnol Pierre Magnol (8 June 1638 – 21 May 1715) was a French botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientif ...
in his ' (1689) where he called the seventy-six groups of plants he recognised in his tables families ('). The concept of rank at that time was not yet settled, and in the preface to the ' Magnol spoke of uniting his families into larger ', which is far from how the term is used today.
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomia ...
used the word ' in his ' (1751) to denote major groups of plants:
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
s,
herb In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes, or for fragrances; excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients. Culinary use typ ...

herb
s,
fern A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta ) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. They differ from mosses and other bryophytes by being vascular, ...

fern
s, palms, and so on. He used this term only in the morphological section of the book, discussing the vegetative and generative organs of plants. Subsequently, in French botanical publications, from
Michel Adanson Michel Adanson (7 April 17273 August 1806) was an 18th-century French botanist and naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning mo ...
's ' (1763) and until the end of the 19th century, the word ' was used as a French equivalent of the Latin ' (or '). In
zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolution, Biological classificat ...
, the family as a rank intermediate between order and genus was introduced by
Pierre André Latreille Pierre André Latreille (29 November 1762 – 6 February 1833) was a French zoologist, specialising in arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, a ...
in his ' (1796). He used families (some of them were not named) in some but not in all his orders of "insects" (which then included all
arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euarthropoda,Reference showing that Euarthropoda is a phylum: ...
s). In nineteenth-century works such as the ' of
Augustin Pyramus de Candolle Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (, , ; 4 February 17789 September 1841) was a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, W ...
and the ' of
George Bentham George Bentham (22 September 1800 – 10 September 1884) was an English botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enter ...
and
Joseph Dalton Hooker Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef Yosef (; also transliterated as Yossef, Josef, Yoseph Tiberian Hebrew and Aramaic ''Yôsēp̄'') is a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, No ...

Joseph Dalton Hooker
this word ' was used for what now is given the rank of family.


Uses

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


See also

*
Systematics Biology, Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of living forms, both past and present, and the Correlation and dependence, relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees (syn ...
, the study of the diversity of living organisms *
Cladistics Cladistics (; ) is an approach to biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular ...
, the classification of organisms by their order of branching in an evolutionary tree *
Phylogenetics In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, ...

Phylogenetics
, the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms *
Taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only about biological ...
*
Virus classification Virus classification is the process of naming viruses and placing them into a Alpha taxonomy, taxonomic system similar to the classification systems used for cell (biology), cellular organisms. Viruses are classified by phenotypic characteristics, ...
*
List of Anuran families This list of Anuran families shows all extant families of Anura. Anura is an order of animals in the class Amphibia that includes frog A frog is any member of a diverse and largely Carnivore, carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphi ...
* List of Testudines families *
List of fish families This is a list of fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming the Chordate#Taxonomy, olfactor ...
* List of families of spiders


References


Bibliography

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