critter names

Una Smith una at LANL.GOV
Wed Oct 10 14:00:33 CDT 2001


On Wed, Oct 10, 2001 at 11:15:41AM -0800, James Kruse wrote:

>the zoological code, which if I remember correctly and have understood
>properly, recommends the endings on species epithets remain despite
>generic name changes.

This recommendation would probably eliminate a lot of migrane headaches.

We botanists are supposed to change the gender of epithets to match the
generic name.  But this introduces the question of *what is* the gender
of the generic name?  When an author of a generic name uses a binomial
that seems to violate the matching-gender rule, later authors may correct
the gender of the epithet (to what it should be if it were in fact Latin)
*or* leave it (to the gender implied by any epithets used in the genus by
the author of the generic name).  In choosing which way to go, the ICBN
recommends following the intervening "botanical tradition".  If there is
none, I take it to mean leave it (i.e., follow the lead of the author of
the generic name).

The ICBN includes some examples.  My paper in NOVON (2001;  11:258--260)
is another.  The author of the genus Palaeoaster named 2 species in it,
both probably F and definitely not M, despite the arguably M generic
name:  Palaeoaster inquirenda and P? similis.  That is all the botanical
tradition re this genus, hence my new combination:  Palaeoaster porosa.

        Una Smith

Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mailstop K-710, Los Alamos, NM  87545




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