Can you please guide me should we pluralize "painted stork" and "black-tailed godwits" in this sentence? Is there any rule regarding the names of species? Like which sentence makes sence and why?

Among climatic variables, effect of rainfall was negative on abundance of black-tailed godwits and painted storks.

Among climatic variables, effect of rainfall was negative on abundance of black-tailed godwit and painted stork.

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    If you are writing for a publication, they will almost certainly have a style manual which provides guidance in such matters. – choster Oct 19 '16 at 15:34
  • Couldnt find any instruction, I wonder if there is any rule? – Haquer Oct 19 '16 at 15:47
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    If you're going for the singular then you could add 'the' before the species' name. – Řídící Oct 19 '16 at 15:53
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    Going by ear: For some reason with non-domestic species it doesn't seem to matter. For instance, "abundance of panda" sounds as good as "abundance of pandas." But "abundance of dog" or "abundance of cat" sounds horribly wrong. – developerwjk Oct 19 '16 at 18:56
  • Please don't write phrases like "effect of rainfall was negative on abundance". Science writing is concerned with communication and this is better done in plain English: "rainfall had no effect on the abundance of". (Notice also in English you need the definite article before "abundance". – David Mar 26 '17 at 22:42

This looks like a good place for the "definite generic" form, the (sense 3a) + a singular noun:

..abundance of the black-tailed godwit and the painted stork.

(beginning of the sentence redacted in order to focus on the particular problem OP had in mind.)


In the first example, you are describing specific animals, maybe all of them as the climate example seems to be global. In the second you describe the species. However, you could tailor the first more easily than the second. E.g. Liberation of hunting rules and laws in south Jersey resulted in the deaths of 5 additional godwits.

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