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Stormbergia name issues

From: Ben Creisler

Stormbergia name issues

The following recent paper discusses the Latin formation 
of the name Stormbergia dangershoeki:  
Knoll, F. 2009 On the name Stormbergia dangershoeki 
Butler. Annales de Paleontologie (online advance 

Not mentioned in the paper is the fact that the botanical 
genus name Stormbergia was already used for a fossil plant 
from the Stormberg series. (Seward, A. C., 1911. A new 
Genus of Fossil Plants from the Stormberg Series of Cape 
Colony, Geological Magazine 8: 298-299 (Stormbergia 

Although Stormbergia is not preoccupied for purposes of 
zoological nomenclature, mention of both the dinosaur name 
and the fossil plant name might conceivably occur in the 
same scientific paper. In a separate posting, I gave some 
online resources to check zoological names against 
existing botanical and microbiological names.

Generic Name Stormbergia
The name Stormbergia was formed by adding the widely used 
Latin suffix -ia to Stormberg for the Stormberg Group of 
South Africa and Lesotho. The Knoll paper says that the 
name would be better as Stormberga rather than 
Stormbergia, and cites an 18th century Latin dictionary 
that gives the Latin form of geographical names ending 
in "berg" as "berga": Heidelberga, Norimberga, etc. Note 
that these are the Latin names that were used in texts 
WRITTEN in Latin. If for some reason someone wrote a paper 
about the Stormberg area IN Latin, it would be fine to 
call it Stormberga to make the name fit Latin grammar as a 
first declension noun. However, a genus of animal or plant 
named AFTER Stormberg would typically be formed by adding 
a Latin suffix such as -ius, -ia, -iana, etc. In ancient 
Rome, for example, the name Tiberius was commonly given to 
Roman men born in the region of the Tiber River (called 
Tiberis in Latin);  Romans would not have named their sons 
Tiberis, which is the name of the river itself. A check of 
generic names in the online version of the Nomenclator 
Zoologicus (http://uio.mbl.edu/NomenclatorZoologicus/)  
turns up only one name ending in "-berga" compared to 
dozens of names ending in "-bergia," "-bergius," or "-

Species Name dangershoeki
The species name dangershoeki was formed by adding the 
Latin second declension genitive ending "i" to Dangers 
The Knoll paper characterizes the species name 
dangershoeki as a "mistake," based on a 1999 paper by H.G. 
Trüper that addressed nomenclatural issues in 
microbiology. Trüper proposed that a species name in the 
genitive case should not be used to indicate geographical 
origin. This revision to the International Code of 
Nomenclature of Prokaryotes was recently included formally 
in Appendix 9: Orthography 
However, in Section 5 of E. Formation of prokaryote names 
from geographical names, the revisions allow for use of 
the genitive case in prokaryote species names that are 
compounds translated into Latin such as "vallismortis"for 
Death Valley.

It's important to point out that provisions of the 
International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes do not 
apply to zoological names, which are governed by the 
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). I 
did a quick DML posting about a week ago about using the 
genitive case in a species name to indicate a geographical 
origin. I quoted the old recommendations formerly included 
in the ICZN, now only available as a pdf at: 

Unfortunately, I made an error in retyping the text from 
my printed copy of the 1985 ICZN and 
substituted "Burgundy" for "Bordeaux." Thanks to Jocelyn 
Falconnet  for catching this lapsus. Here's the corrected 
text of the recommendation that permits use of the 
genitive case in species names that refer to geographical 

IV. Names formed from geographical names
22. A species-group names based on a geographical names 
should be
(a) preferably an adjective derived from the geographical 
name, and ending in a suitable suffix, such as -ensis or -
(b) or a noun in the genitive case, e.g. neapolis 
(Naples), ithacae (Ithaca), sanctipauli (St. Paul), romae 
(Rome), vindobonae (Vienna), burdigalae (Bordeaux).

The International Code Botanical Nomenclature (available 
at http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/main.htm) also includes a  
recommendation concerning use of the genitive case for 
species based on geographical names:

Recommendation 23A
23A.1 Names of person and also of countries and localities 
used in specific epithets should take the form of nouns in 
the genitive (clusii, porsildiorum, saharae) or of 
adjectives (clusianus, dahuricus) (see also Art. 60, Rec. 
60C and 60D).

Using the genitive case for a species name that refers to 
a geographical location probably works best when it's 
formed from an old Latin name or is translated into Latin 
words. However, adding a genitive ending to non-Latin 
names in the way now commonly used for names of persons is 
probably here to stay in zoological nomenclature and 
really can't be considered a mistake.