gender of -opsis?

Doug Yanega dyanega at POP.UCR.EDU
Wed Aug 14 20:41:04 CDT 2002

Steve Gaimari wrote:

>The ending -opsis for a genus is feminine if it is the NOUN "opsis",
>meaning semblance or appearance, as Barry Roth wrote.  But, if it is
>adjectival, then it can be masculine, feminine or neuter, depending
>on gender of the governing noun.

Based on the citation in the ICZN that Margaret Thayer gave (Article
30), I don't see how the above interpretation can possibly come into
play. The Code says "ending in a Greek or Latin word or ending in a
Greek or Latin suffix". It does NOT specify any difference based on
whether the ending is a noun versus an adjective. Unless you can
point out some hidden clause in the Code where it distinguishes
between noun suffixes versus adjective suffixes (it certainly doesn't
in Article 30 - in fact, it explicitly states that name gender is
based on the *ending*, even in cases where it differs from the
governing noun, as you apparently invoke above), I'm convinced that
the Code does indeed mean to say that ALL zoological genera ending in
-opsis should be considered feminine "unless the Commission rules
otherwise", and regardless of what Ashmead, Cockerell, Cresson, and
Girault thought at the time they published, pre-Code. For that
matter, even some recent names, such as Tineobiopsis mexicanus Gibson
1995 and Hodotermopsis dimorphus Zhu & Huang 1991 are clearly
incorrectly formed, so obviously even otherwise competent taxonomists
can go astray. Argh. I'm for streamlining the Code so it's simpler
and stable, and no longer requires *debate* to decide how to spell a
species epithet.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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