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A PSA about terminology and formatting in myrmecology and taxonomy


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted April 11 2017 - 8:29 AM

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In no particular order:

 

The binomial (two-part, genus-species) species name for any organism is always written in italic font, although other levels of classification, such as subfamily, are not italicized. The first letter of the genus is ALWAYS capitalized, and the first letter of the species is NEVER capitalized. ONLY the genus may be abbreviated to the first one or two letters, but ONLY after the name has been spelled in full at least once. (i.e. Lasius alienus, L. alienus, Pheidole bicarinata, Ph. bicarinata)

 

sp.

is an abbreviation for "species", describing A SINGLE, unspecified member of a given genus (i.e. Lasius sp.)

 

spp.

is an abbreviation for "species pluralis", describing MULTIPLE, DIFFERENT, unspecified members of a given genus (i.e. Lasius spp.)

 

cf.

is an abbreviation which roughly translates to "comparable to". It goes between the genus and species of something that is comparable to your specimen, but is not proven to be that species. Any specimen we call Lasius cf. neoniger could possibly be Lasius pallitarsis, unless we can prove otherwise.

Sometimes people will use the informal formicine, myrmicine, ponerine, etc. to describe their ants, based on subfamily. These do not need to be capitalized or italicized, but note that these words ARE ADJECTIVES. Saying "this is a myrmicine." as opposed to "this is a myrmicine ant." is akin to saying "this is an interesting." as opposed to "this is an interesting ant."

Polygyny refers to ants which are polygynous, supporting more than one queen in a colony after it is founded. Polygyny is typically not a universal trait for a given species, but is often expressed through branching genetic lineages (it is only advantageous to be polygynous when there is heavy competition from your own species and little available space to found a new colony.) In many instances of polygyny (particularly with polydomic ants who have multiple, allied nests) the extra queens are daughters of the foundress queen who have rejoined the colony.

Monogyny describes ants which will only ever support one queen after their colony is founded. Species which exhibit polygyny will likely also have a monogynous strain, and the two strains tend to be intolerant of each other.

"Mono" and "poly", "monogamous" and "polygamous" refer ONLY to human partnerships! <3

"Mono" is also appropriate to describe infectious mononucleousus, caused by the Epstein–Barr virus.

Pleometrosis refers to a founding strategy wherein a colony is started with more than one queen, although, later, all but one will move away with or without a portion of the workers (or else be killed off). The adjective form is "pleometrotic", not "pleometrophic", which would mean "eats queens".

A NAN-I-TIC is a morphologically distinct caste of worker found at the beginning of a colony's founding stages. Nanitics are usually smaller, short-lived, and may be a different shape or color.

I'll probably be adding more to this later. Glad to get that off my chest. :D


Edited by Batspiderfish, April 18 2017 - 7:21 AM.

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If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

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Black lives still matter.


#2 Online Martialis - Posted April 11 2017 - 8:35 AM

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This is probably one of the most needed topics.


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Spoiler

#3 Offline Kevin - Posted April 11 2017 - 9:02 AM

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This needs to be pinned, I've seen a lot of confusion lately with this and I myself will be referring to this in the future.


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Hit "Like This" if it helped.


#4 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted April 11 2017 - 9:23 AM

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Yes, someone should pin this. Good job Bat  :D


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Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#5 Offline drtrmiller - Posted April 11 2017 - 2:09 PM

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The only way these points will reach the people who need them most is if you turn them into some dank memes.

Edited by drtrmiller, April 11 2017 - 2:12 PM.

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#6 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted April 11 2017 - 2:13 PM

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The only way these points will reach the people who need them most is if you turn them into some dank memes.

Hmmmmm... I'm on it!
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Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#7 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted April 11 2017 - 2:25 PM

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The only way these points will reach the people who need them most is if you turn them into some dank memes.

 

You are so right.


Edited by Batspiderfish, April 11 2017 - 2:46 PM.

If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#8 Offline gcsnelling - Posted April 11 2017 - 2:30 PM

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Very good post, I hope people take it to heart. Does that mean people should not use "poly" and "mono" ?


Edited by gcsnelling, April 11 2017 - 2:30 PM.

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#9 Offline Alabama Anter - Posted April 11 2017 - 2:34 PM

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Very good post, I hope people take it to heart. Does that mean people should not use "poly" and "mono" ?

Michigan Anter xD
Keeper of...

(2) Parakeets
(2) Peppered Corydoras
(4) Neon Tetras
(1) Hermit Crab
(100-300) Mealworms
(1) Tetramorium sp. E
(1) Dormymyrmex bicolor
(1) Dormymyrmex insanus
(1) Solenopsis invicta
(1) Formica fusca
(1) Lasius neoniger
(1) Crematogaster cerasi
(1) Myrmecocystus testacus

#10 Offline AnthonyP163 - Posted April 11 2017 - 3:09 PM

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Very good post, I hope people take it to heart. Does that mean people should not use "poly" and "mono" ?

Michigan Anter xD

 

Haha



#11 Offline Lukas2021 - Posted August 1 2017 - 12:03 PM

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This is the most useful unpinned topic on this forum.

#12 Offline Serafine - Posted August 1 2017 - 12:42 PM

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You forgot to mention s str, like Lasius s str means that it's an actual Lasius ant and not one of a subgenus like Chotonolasius or Dendrolasius.
This is especially important for europeans as in most european contries Formica s str (the hill-building Formica like Formica rufa or F. polyctena) are protected while Serviformica (like Formica fusca) and Raptiformica (like Formica sanguinea) usually aren't.

And I agree that this should be pinned.

Edited by Serafine, August 1 2017 - 12:44 PM.

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#13 Offline lucas3431 - Posted August 1 2017 - 1:00 PM

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And I agree that this should be pinned.

 

I agree, very informative topic.



#14 Online nurbs - Posted August 1 2017 - 7:30 PM

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This is the kind of post I love seeing on here, great and informative.

 

Hopefully others will take this information to heart (unlike that Ant ID template thread which is already PINNED).


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#15 Offline VoidElecent - Posted March 3 2018 - 3:24 PM

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Is Ph. bicarinata more accurate than P. bicarinata? When can you replace the genus abbreviation with two letters over one?


Edited by VoidElecent, March 4 2018 - 8:14 AM.


#16 Offline gcsnelling - Posted March 3 2018 - 3:58 PM

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I frequently use a two letter genus abbreviation, esp if I am likely to be talking about more than one genus which all begin with the same letter, Pogonomyrmex, Pseudomyrmex, Pheidole as examples. If only talking about one genus, I have no issue using one letter abbreviation provided I spell out the genus at the beginning of the conversation. As far a I know there is no actual convention though that requires it.


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#17 Offline VoidElecent - Posted March 3 2018 - 5:42 PM

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I frequently use a two letter genus abbreviation, esp if I am likely to be talking about more than one genus which all begin with the same letter, Pogonomyrmex, Pseudomyrmex, Pheidole as examples. If only talking about one genus, I have no issue using one letter abbreviation provided I spell out the genus at the beginning of the conversation. As far a I know there is no actual convention though that requires it.

 

Thank you, I'll continue to use two letters if I feel it necessary. There was some confusion around one of the questions on my quiz, but this clears it up.



#18 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 3 2018 - 7:37 PM

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Glad to see my assumptions about that were correct.



#19 Offline DaveJay - Posted August 19 2018 - 10:48 AM

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The lack of italics is forgivable online I think, sometimes it's simply not possible, for instance I have no way to use italics in this post as it's not supported by my phone or this forums' software if using a phone. I must admit I haven't actually checked if I can use them when posting on pc though.
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#20 Offline DaveJay - Posted August 25 2018 - 6:39 PM

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I came across a thread in which these definitions would be useful.
Definitions in relation to plants and animals specifically.

Native - naturally occurring in an area.
Endemic - only naturally occurring in a specific area.
Exotic - not naturally occurring in a specific area.

For this purpose "area" can mean anything from a very small specific place to meaning a whole country or continent or even the earth itself.

Edited by DaveJay, August 25 2018 - 6:42 PM.





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