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RE: I'm late, I'm late...
On Wednesday, September 23, 1998 10:18 PM, DE SOSA [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> species name endings...
> Someone said -ae was a singular female ending, so does that
> mean Bradycneme draculae should have been B. draculai? Or
> is there something I don't know about our Transylavanian friend?
> Or is it too incomplete to matter?
Mercifully brief Latin lesson follows:
In ICZN pig Latin you're probably right. However "draculae" is good Latin.
The -a -ae ending is not actually a feminine ending for nouns (it *is* for
adjectives). It is a first declension ending. Most first declension nouns
are feminine, but a few are not (e.g., "agricola" = farmer). "Dracula,"
because of its -a ending, is correctly treated as one of these exceptions.
The genitive (i.e. possessive) singular is thus "draculae".
There are also a few names (I can't think of a single example off-hand)
which use the third declension: -s or -is, -is, -es, -ium. Thus:
mons = mountain
montis = of the mountain
montes = mountains
montium = of the mountains
Finally, there's fourth declension which is quite rare in Latin. The only
time you're likely to run into it is "cornus" = horn. Fortunately for you
(unfortunately for scholarship) most biologists seem to treat this as a
second or third declension noun. I can't remember what the correct endings
are, but I think they are -us, -us, -uus, -uum (the initial 'u' in all
cases is long and pronounced 'oo').
Since I have now exceeded everyone's pedantry quota for the year, I will