hyphenated names

Michael Schmitt m.schmitt at UNI-BONN.DE
Tue Oct 28 15:06:10 CST 2003


Dear colleagues,

this matter is, as far as I see, a bit more difficult than it could seem at
first glance. The ICBN says that the hyphen is to be suppressed except for
the cases specified, which are, e.g. if the epithet is formed by two words
which can normally stand alone. The epithet "aureo-stipes" is such an
epithet: 'aureo' is ablative of aureus = golden, 'stipes' is a noun. Thus,
the hyphen is justified. ICZN obligatorily forbids a hyphen (except if it
connects a single letter denoting a certain feature to a word). Therefore,
it is important to decide whether or not a slime mold should be treated as
an animal or as a plant.

In textbooks, I find slime molds in either kingdom. The ICBN explicitly
states that names of slime molds are within its scope. The ICZN claims that
for its purpose the term "animal" refers to the Metazoa and also to
protistan taxa when workers treat them as animals for the purpose of
nomenclature (art. 1.1.) and regulates "names of taxa later but not at
first classified as animals" and "names of taxa at some time but not later
classified as animals" (art. 2).

Consequently, an author must decide whether to treat a taxon in question as
an animal or a plant. If the slime mold taxon under discussion is treated
as an animal, the specific epitheton must not contain a hyphen, if it is
treated as a plant, it must.

                                 Best regards
                                   Michael


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* Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Zoologischer Anzeiger, Managing     *
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