[Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -ops

Adam Cotton adamcot at cscoms.com
Thu May 19 13:29:53 CDT 2016

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Magnacca" <kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu>
To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2016 1:09 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -ops

> On Wed, May 18, 2016 5:28 pm, Frank Krell wrote:
>> For me, gender agreement saves a lot of time because I do not have
>> to look up the original spelling. Full stop.
> Uh...what?  If there wasn't gender agreement, we wouldn't be having
> to deal with all of this nonsense because the original spelling
> would simply be THE SPELLING.  And we wouldn't be wasting time
> trying to determine if a word ending in -a is a feminine adjective
> or a noun in apposition, or is a non-Latinized word, etc. etc.
> Unfortunately, now that it's been the practice for 200 years, we're
> stuck with this unholy mess and no easy way to fix it...

And the Chinese made a mess of a number of species in my group (and 
presumably in many other groups too) by changing the endings of nouns in 
apposition to 'agree' with the genus name, not realising that gender 
agreement does not apply in these cases. As a result several species are 
incorrectly spelt in Chinese literature, including one species which was the 
subject of a paper published in PLoS ONE very recently. I was surprised that 
none of the editors or peer reviewers noticed the -a had suddenly become -us 
throughout this paper. This is because the (mostly Chinese) ecologists who 
wrote the paper used the Chinese book to identify the species without 
checking the correct spelling. Presumably the peer reviewers were not 
actually familiar with the species under consideration, otherwise they 
should have spotted the error immediately, as I did after downloading the 


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