Order (biology)

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In scientific classification used in biology, the order (Latin: ordo) is

What does and does not belong to each order is determined by a taxonomist. Similarly for the question if a particular order should be recognized at all. Often there is no exact agreement, with different taxonomists each taking a different position. There are no hard rules that a taxonomist needs to follow in describing or recognizing an order. Some taxa are accepted almost universally, while others are recognised only rarely.

For some groups of organisms, consistent suffixes are used to denote that the rank is an order. The Latin suffix -(i)formes meaning "having the form of" is used for the scientific name of orders of birds and fishes, but not for those of mammals and invertebrates. The suffix -ales is for the name of orders of vascular plants.

Contents

Hierarchy of ranks

For some clades, a number of additional classifications are used.

History of the concept

The order as a distinct rank of biological classification having its own distinctive name (and not just called a higher genus (genus summum)) was first introduced by a German botanist Augustus Quirinus Rivinus in his classification of plants (appeared in a series of treatises in the 1690s). Carolus Linnaeus was the first to apply it consistently to the division of all three kingdoms of Nature (minerals, plants, and animals) in his Systema Naturae (1735, 1st. Ed.).

Botany

For plants the Linnaean orders, in the Systema Naturae and the Species Plantarum, were strictly artificial, introduced to subdivide the artificial classes into more comprehensible smaller groups. When the word ordo was first consistently used for natural units of plants, in nineteenth century works such as the Prodromus of de Candolle and the Genera Plantarum of Bentham & Hooker, it indicated taxa that are now given the rank of family (see ordo naturalis).

In French botanical publications, from Michel Adanson's Familles naturelles des plantes (1763) and until the end of the 19th century, the word famille (plural: familles) was used as a French equivalent for this Latin ordo. This equivalence was explicitly stated in the Alphonse De Candolle's Lois de la nomenclature botanique (1868), the precursor of the currently used International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

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