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Species of bacteria or bacterium?

  1. Nov 17, 2009 #1
    When you say species of cat, you say exactly that, cat, not cats, the singular, don't you? There seems to be a mixture when it comes to bacteria. Some sources say species of bacteria, others speices of bacterium. Would you say "How many species of cats are there?" or "How many species of cat are there?". It seems, when it comes to bacteria, the plural is used in this case....
    Any body got any ideas???
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2009 #2


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    Re: Speices of bacteria or bacterium?

    I suppose it's because Bacteria is the name of the family (or in this case domain) which is normally given as a plural.
    So you would say - how many species of the family Felidae are there.

    But bacteria is also used as a singular in everyday speech anyway.
    Plus this is English - there aren't any rules, well there are but you are allowed to make up your own anyway.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  4. Nov 18, 2009 #3
    Re: Speices of bacteria or bacterium?

    Thanks mgb phys!
    Damn the English language and its crazy rulelessness!
  5. Nov 19, 2009 #4


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    Species is both singular and plural, so it depends. :biggrin: If you are asking about a species of cat, then you're talking about one species. If you ask about species of cats, then you're asking about more than one species. Though, biologists are more typically going to ask about species of felids. :wink:
  6. Nov 21, 2009 #5
    Thanks moonbear!
  7. Nov 30, 2009 #6
    e coli bacteria species

    gram (+) bacterium species
  8. Dec 1, 2009 #7
    You see, it is confusing!
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