Every individual organism is treated as belonging to an indefinite number of taxa of consecutively subordinate rank.
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Taxa normally consist of whole organisms in all their life stages, irrespective of the nature of the corresponding namebearing types. For practical reasons, in some categories of organisms taxa are recognised and can be named that correspond only to parts of organisms, or to definite stages of their life history, or result from their activity. Such taxa are termed parataxa. This Code provides, in Art. 31, for names of parataxa of specified categories.
The primary ranks of taxa in descending sequence are: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.
Secondary ranks of taxa, when required, include in descending sequence: domain above kingdom, tribe between family and genus, section and series between genus and species, and variety and form below species.
Should an even greater number of ranks of taxa be desired, the terms for these are made by adding the prefixes super-, pro-, or sub- (sub- being below pro-) to non-prefixed terms denoting principal or secondary ranks.
Ex. 1. Superfamilies, progenera or subspecies are permitted but not subprospecies or prosubspecies
Throughout this Code, the following rank groups are recognised: “suprafamilial ranks” (all ranks above the familygroup); “family-group ranks” (the ranks of family and profamily); “infrafamilial ranks” (all ranks between family group and genus group); “genus-group ranks” (the ranks of genus and progenus); “infrageneric ranks” (all ranks between genus group and species group); “species-group ranks” (the ranks of species and prospecies); and “infraspecific ranks” (any rank below the species group).
Established names are those that comply with the requirements of Art. 7–11 (see also Art. 33.2) or that, prior to the starting date defined in those Articles, were validly published or became available under the relevant Special Code.
In this Code, unless otherwise indicated, the word “name” means an established name, whether it be acceptable or unacceptable (see Art. 19).
Acceptable names are established names that are in accordance with the rules, that is, are neither unacceptable under Art. 18 nor illegitimate under the relevant Special Code.
The establishment of new names of infraspecific taxa is strongly discouraged, except in groups in which they are used traditionally.