[Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

Rosenberg,Gary rosenberg.ansp at drexel.edu
Sun Jan 12 15:06:07 CST 2014

“Nanus” (dwarf), “nanum” (watering pot), and “nana” (female dwarf) are all nouns in Latin (see Littleton’s Latin dictionary <here<http://books.google.com/books?id=IUAhAQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=latin+dictionary&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QAHTUrTuEsmjsQSa94CoDA&ved=0CIABEOgBMAk#v=snippet&q=nanus%20nanum&f=false>>). Unless adjectival usage is stated in the original, when a species is named using one of these epithets, the name is invariant. “Nanus, -a, um” as an adjective seems not to appear in classical and medieval Latin.

The original description of Vespertilio nanus <here<http://books.google.com/books?id=_XBBAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA63&dq=Vespertilio+nanus&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Cf_SUuDOFJSssQTEgoDYCw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Vespertilio%20nanus&f=false>> does not give a derivation, so the current name should be formed as “Neoromicia nanus“.

Best wishes,


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Alex Borisenko
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:46 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Neoromicia nanus or Neoromicia nana?

Dear Taxacomers,

I would appreciate hearing expert views on a nomenclatural issue related to a common bat species - the African banana bat. Originally described as Vespertilio nanus Peters, 1852, it has since been tossed into the genus Pipistrellus and, most recently, Neoromicia.

Currently, the global mammal checklist uses the name "Neoromicia nanus": http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/browse.asp?s=y&id=13802268

However, a recent article proposes to use "Neoromicia nana", based on the fact that the gender of the generic epithet is feminine: http://www.italian-journal-of-mammalogy.it/article/view/4427

This new 'feminine' spelling gradually becomes entrenched in regional literature, but not in the global checklists.

I was unable to find the word 'nanus' in online Latin dictionaries. Do I understand correctly that, albeit sounding Latin, it is actually a derivative from the Greek 'νᾶνος ' ('dwarf') and, as such, should be treated as a noun in apposition, thus falling under ICZN Art. 31.2.1.?

If so, would 'Neoromicia nanus' be the correct spelling? If not, can you please suggest the proper grammatic rules that would apply in this case?

PS I deliberately aim to avoid the other nomenclatural and taxonomic issues that plague this species (or, more likely, species complex). Thanks for your suggestions.

Best wishes,

Alex Borisenko


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