gender of -opsis?

Margaret K. Thayer mthayer at FIELDMUSEUM.ORG
Wed Aug 14 19:37:41 CDT 2002

Why not just look it up...

Article 30.1.2 of the ICZN says "a genus-group name that is or ends in a
Greek word transliterated into Latin without other changes takes the gender
given for that word in standard Greek dictionaries;"  and the examples
under than section include -opsis (from opsis) as one of several that are
feminine.  On the other hand, a "... name ending in -ops is to be treated
as masculine, regardless of its derivation or of its treatment by its
author." Art.; this difference may have caused some confusion. See
all of Art. 30 for other examples, a few exceptions, etc.

limbus is a Latin noun mean edge or fringe, so evidently that's what the
author meant.  It would have been helpful for him to mention that it was a
noun, but in the three Latin dictionaries I checked (one of them the size
of a large phone book) I see no indication of there being an adjectival
form.  It thus appears to be a noun in apposition and unchanging.

> >>> Doug Yanega <dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU> 08/14/02 03:15PM >>>
>I'm confused. I was under the impression that the ending -opsis was
>feminine. ...
>He also states that limbus is from the Latin limbus.
>Nothing is stated about it being a
>In scanning over other genera with the -opsis ending, I note that
>while most epithets are feminine, certain authors ...consistently
>used masculine endings for all such genera in
>which they named species, ...still used with the masculine endings,
>.... I truly doubt that the authors of the
>genera in question ALL specified in the original generic descriptions
>that they considered the genus name to be neuter, ...
If they had considered it to be neuter, why would they use a masculine
ending?  Maybe this was just a slip of the e-pen.

>or that the authors
>of the epithets ALL specified that they were nouns in apposition.
>Am I correct, then, in changing the endings in my own lists to be
>feminine, pending the drudgery of digging through all the original
If they're adjectives, yes, they need to agree with the gender of the genus.
See Article 31.2

Margaret K. Thayer              mthayer at
Assistant Curator, Zoology, and Head, Division of Insects
Field Museum of Natural History
1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago IL 60605-2496, USA
PHONE: +1-312-665-7741 (direct-dial)
FAX: +1-312-665-7754

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