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Re: A question for zoonomenclaturists
From: Ben Creisler
Without knowing the example in question in detail, I have the
The specific name can probably be left as-is.
The ICZN allows names that are arbitrary combinations of letters,
which would apply to species as well as genera. For example, the
reptile generic names Morelia Gray, Morenia Gray, and Morethia Gray
appear to be simply euphonic combinations of letters that sound like
Greek and Latin, but in fact do not appear to be from Greek or Latin
roots or named for actual people or places. If you named a parasite
species that was only found on species of each genus, you could add a
genitive ending such as "moreliae," "moreniae," "morethiae."
In terms of formation, the species names is correctly formed with a
genitive ending even though the generic etymology is from a
combination of letters and not derived from a legitimate Latin word or
from a real proper name.
If, for example, someone took the Latin verb *pugno*- infinitive
*pugnare" "fight" and created a species name "pugnari" supposedly as
a noun in the genitive case intended to mean "of a fight" because the
specimen showed evidence of injury, it would be bad Latin but I think
it would have to be accepted under ICZN rules. (In fact, in correct
Latin *pugnari" would be the spelling for the passive infinitive
meaning "to be fought".)
Zoological nomenclature is rife with examples of garbled Latin
formations that ignore the different noun declensions, correct word
stems, etc. I could list many, but they have been left as-is in the
I suppose this comes down to the difference between Neo-Latin and
conventional Latin. In Neo-Latin popular usage, the 2nd declension
plural form "octopi" has been widely used for "octopus" (a third
declension noun in Latin and Greek) instead of the correct 3rd
declension plural "octopodes." Technically, it's bad Latin but people
get the idea.
On Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 5:57 AM, Jocelyn Falconnet
> Hi everyone,
> I got a question about zoological nomenclature. If anyone could help me out,
> that would be very nice !
> Here is the jest:
> 1/ A new genus and its new type species were published a few months ago.
> 2/ The type and only species was expressly formed from a Latin verb in the
> infinitive form, to which was added the masculine/neuter genitive ending -i.
> This name is not only incorrect in Latin, but it also regarding the Code.
> Article 11.9.1 of the Code requires indeed that “a Latin or latinized word
> [it] *MUST* be, or be treated as, 184.108.40.206. an adjective or participle in
> the nominative singular […], or 220.127.116.11. a noun in the nominative singular
> standing in apposition to the generic name […], or 18.104.22.168. a noun in the
> genitive case […], or 22.214.171.124. an adjective used as a substantive in the
> genitive case and derived from the specific name of an organism with which
> the animal in question is associated” to be considered as available.
> According to this article, the species is therefore not available.
> 3/ Now, even if its description follows the requirements of the ICZN, is the
> genus name available ?
> There are rules regarding the designation of a type species from the
> originally included ones or from the first to have been included in the
> genus (if the genus was erected all alone)... but I don't know what to do in
> this particular case.
> What do you think about it ?
> "As a Professor of Science, I assure you we did in fact evolve from filthy
> monkey men." Hubert J. Farnworth.