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

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Fri May 20 05:49:51 CDT 2016

Actually the way lepidopterists proceed today has been initiated by 
Linnaeus himself. Among hundreds of butterfly specific names Linnaeus 
did not use one single declinable adjective that would have to change if 
placed in masculine or feminine genus. The lepidopterists have always 
had a special role, since the very beginning on. This is not because 
some folks in the past decades were lazy. This had initially been a 
supradisciplinary decision taken in 1758.

So it would make sense to identify a mandatory change in a lepidopteran 
name as a subsequent spelling, not as a mandatory change under Art. 34. 
Possibly in some other less well-known disciplines we may have the same 
situation, I did not research that.

I personally think that today the term "spelling" and its usage in 
regulations involving prevailing usage (Art. 33) should consider changes 
in the ending of adjectives, given that such changes are much more 
important in the electronic age than they had ever been before. We 
should think about inserting regulations in this direction. It would 
make sense because it would give more stability to the name usages and 
support the trend that only one set of letters is used for an animal in 
a scientific name.


Am 20.05.2016 um 00:59 schrieb Michael A. Ivie:
> On 5/19/2016 12:09 PM, Karl Magnacca wrote:
>> ...
>> 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...
> Although I can hear the nashing of traditionalist's teeth as I write 
> this, it is actually very easy to fix it, and we are not stuck with 
> it.  The Lepidopterists have fixed it, they simply use original 
> spelling.  The whole community has agreed to do this, and it works 
> fine.  Since there is no enforcement provisions in the Code, usage in 
> the end determines correctness.  All it takes is the will, and the 
> execution is very easy.
> I do not condone doing it the way the Lep folks have, i.e. outside the 
> Code system, but it is a reaction to frustration with arcane and 
> archaic strictures from the dim dark past.
> When Linneaus and Fabricius wrote, they wrote in Latin, so of course 
> they used Latin grammar regarding gender, just was we use English verb 
> agreement when writing in English.  The enshrinement of using grammar 
> from a language not being used is an artificial construct. There is 
> nothing about it that is inevitable nor required.
> Mike

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