In Taxonomy (Botanical, Zoology, etc), the name binominal , or binomial , comes from the combination of two names, being used to indicate a Taxon row lower than the kind. Formalized by Linné during the 18th century, the nomenclature binominale, as well as other formal aspects of the biological nomenclature, constitutes the “system linnéen”.
Below the row of kind, all the names of let us tax are called combinations .
Between kind and species (Sub-genus (biology), section, sub-section, series, under-series, etc), the combinations are infrageneric and binominales : name of kind, then after indication of the row, a infrageneric epithet.
- With the row of species, the combinations become specific and binominales . It is the principal subject covered in this page;
In lower part of species (variety, form, etc) the combinations are infraspecific and trinominales .
History of the nomenclature binominale
It is Carl von Linné (1707-1778) which introduced the nomenclature known as binary , then binominale. Even if one does not allot paternity of it to him, it is him which formalized a whole of rules which supported its adoption by the scientific communities.
The honor with a first French work to have used this nomenclature binominale returns to a catalog of the cultivated species to the Botanical garden of Montpellier, the Hortus regius monspeliensis of the botanist Antoine Gouan (1733-1821).
The rules of Nomenclature are modulated according to the disciplines; those applying to let us tax with the Vegetable kingdom and of the fungic Règne is enacted by the international Code of botanical nomenclature (CINB); those of the Animal kingdom by the zoological International commission of nomenclature (CINZ). These rules do not remain immutable. They are the subject of periodic readjustments at the time of the international congresses (every six years).
They remain most important because any species of the alive world is indicated by a Latin binomial . This specific binomial is composed of a name of kind followed by a name of species , whose whole constitutes the international name scientific under which all “ individual ” identified with this species can be indicated.
The two terms of the binomial are respectively called generic name and specific name (or epithet specific ). However, the complete scientific name of the species requires the whole of the binomial and not only the specific epithet.
Example: Homo sapiens Linné, 1758.
- Homo constitutes the name of kind (with personal Latin, with first capital letter and in italic) which gave the word “French Man”.
- sapiens comes from an adjective Latin (in tiny italic) meaning “intelligent, wise, reasonable, careful”, and which indicates the species here.
- Linné identifies the name of the naturalist who named and described the species.
- 1758 locates the year of publication of the diagnosis, or its validation.
The binomials are established according to precise rules, fixed by the scientific nomenclature of the names of the alive species:
They are famous Latin S , whatever their origin: one of the two names, even both being able to be transcribed old Greek like Abramis , of the Chinese like Agrocybe chaxingu , or of the Japanese like Lentinula shiitake . Indeed, they are imperatively written in Latin alphabet (no diacritic or accent is not tolerated, except for the Latin bindings: Æ, æ, Œ, œ) and receive a Latin ending or are declined in Latin each time it is morphologiquement possible.
Starting from a certain publication date, variable according to the disciplines, the binomials must be accompanied by a diagnosis Latin E , with description and typification , in the same publication (or later on, to see low “: ” or “ex”).
- They are supposed to contain a descriptive value , in particular the qualificative or génitive epithet. It is here only about one recommendation of the Code to the authors, but greatest freedom is allowed in the choice of the Christian name. It can be a Patronyme (rouxii), a Prénom (mariae), a Pseudonyme (otaksa), a Toponyme (brasiliensis, japonica…), an indigenous name whatever its source language, or an erudite made up word (see hereafter).
It is now also recommended to explain of it the direction or the etymology (recommendation 60 H.1.) particularly when it does not appear obvious. For example, Clitocybe acromelalga Ichimura, described an erudite name composed of the Greek acro- “end”, - mel - “articulation” and alga “pain”, this causing mushroom of the atrocious pains of the ends (fingers and toes). It however is badly declined ( acromelalges had been correct), but the correction, which must be the request object (that of which little worries, considering the weakness in Latin grammar of the contemporary authors), concerns an official decision.
Some examples of binomials, follow-ups of the name of their authors:
- the Cheetah: Acinonyx jubatus (Schreber, 1775).
- the Lion: Panthera leo Linnæus, 1766.
- the Trumpet of dead the (or Horn of plenty ): Craterellus cornucopioides (Linnæus: Fries) Persoon.
Formal presentationIt is necessary to comply with certain rules of composition (orthography and Latin grammar) and of Typographie:
- the first letter of the first term (the name of kind) is written in Majuscule and all the tiny remainder in S. the recommendation 60 F.1 precise: the initial letter of any specific or infraspecific epithet should be tiny; however, the authors who wish to use a capital letter can do it for epithets directly derived from names of people , real or mythical, vernacular names (or not Latin) or old names of kinds.
- As the binomial is written in Latin, it is of use to write it in Italique, which has moreover the advantage of emphasizing it visually. When one cannot put the binomial in italic, in writing current Cursive for example, the typographical use wants that it is underlined.
Mention of intermediate rowsThe name of sub-genus or others intercalated rows, is sometimes inserted between brackets between the name of kind and the name of species. For example Hylobius (Callirus) abietis (Linnaeus, 1758). They are tolerated to indicate a Filiation, but this name of sub-genus does not make in no case part of the binomial.
When the binomial becomes trinomialIn lower part of the row of species (variety or race, subspecies, form), the name of let us tax becomes trinominal , with the name of kind, a specific epithet followed only one infraspecific epithet after the indication of the row: Tricholoma saponaceum VAr. fagetorum .
The quotation of authorsEach time the rigor becomes necessary, one must make follow the binomial of the quotation of authors and the publication date (the year is enough) of original description, possibly supplemented his bibliographical reference.
For example, always for the cheetah:
- Acinonyx jubatus (Schreber, 1775).
There exist four categories of authors:
- the author of the Taxon of origin or Basionyme.
- the author of a new combination starting from this basionyme (change of kind or change of row taxinomic). Each recombination creating as much of Synonymous S.
- the author sanctioning a basionyme invalid.
- the author sanctioning an invalid recombination.
When the taxon is published for the first time, the quotation is always simple: the name is followed name of the author who publishes it. This name of anybody can be given to length, but one very often uses an abbreviation more or less accepted by the use. The author can replace a collective of authors (the whole of the authors publishing the name jointly and who assume the responsibility for it).
Brackets in the quotation of authorsWhen a systematician estimates that the selected kind is not the best for this species, in particular following the creation of a new kind, it can decide to transfer the species in another kind. In this case, the name of the author of the princeps combination remains, but it is placed between brackets.
Each time a species is transferred in another kind, one must obligatorily mention following the closing bracket, the name of that which, the first, published this new combination (shortened comb. Nov. ).
In other words, each time the Taxon to which the name (presumedly published in a valid way) applies initially was changed kind and that the epithet is preserved (what is not always possible), one proceeds as follows:
the name of the initial author (or his abbreviation) is quoted between brackets and one makes follow this bracket of the name of the author of the transfer to the kind of reception.
- This also applies if there is change of row (transfer between the rows of species, subspecies, variety etc).
The rule applies even if instead of only one author, the transfer is the fact of several authors jointly in the same publication (publications signed by several authors).
Mention of the year of publication
This date locates the year of effective publication of the book or the review in which the species was described the first time under this binomial. This date is essential to find, in particular when one consults old works (more than five years are enough in certain disciplines), a species quoted even if it changed kind. The mention of the year is however optional, just as the complete bibliographical quotation.
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