Carios vs. Carlos

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Tue Apr 10 15:45:18 CDT 2001

At 11:57 AM -0600 4/10/01, Robin Leech wrote:
>Carios or Carlos, the specific epithet is not correct.  As it is a fossil,
>there are a few other rules in the ICZN that should be followed.  I suspect
>that this one should have been Carios jerseyites.

Actually, according to the current (2000) ICZN, the name is perfectly
correct. There is no rule stating that a species name must be Latin, Greek
or any other language, only that if it is latinized, it should follow Latin
grammar.  The species name appears to be latinized from Jersey, which,
since there is nothing in the paper to suggest otherwise (no etymology
being given), I presume to be the name of the author's dog.  The senior
author of the paper once named a new mite for a monkey (the late, lamented
"Grabber," source of the type-series of Rhyncoptes grabberi); but he was
only following in the tradition of his dissertation advisor (myself) who
once named a mite for a pet gerbil (the late, lamented "Guppe" honored by
the name Ctenoglyphus guppei).  Anyway, it beats the old acarological
tradition of naming new genera of parasitic mites by combining the name of
one's colleague with the Greek root "nysso" (to prick or pierce) (e.g.
Hirstionyssus, Vitznyssus, Travanyssus, Rochanyssus, Flavionyssus, etc.)
        There is also nothing in the current code to require fossils to
have names ending in -ites, although this was an old tradition for generic
names, now rejected by Article 20.

So many mites, so little time!
Barry M. OConnor
Professor & Curator             phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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