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

David Redei david.redei at gmail.com
Sun May 22 20:18:21 CDT 2016


> Here a generalized conversation I have had over and over:

> Ecologist: "What is this species? It has never been associated with this
> plant before."
> Me: "Oh, that is the same as the species you have been working with, it
> has just been moved to another genus."
> Ecologist: "But, both names are different, not just the genus, it must be
> something different."
> Me: "No, it is just that the ending is changed to conform with Latin
> grammer."
> Ecologist: "But I am writing in English, not Latin, so I use which ending?"
> Me: "It is a rule, the ending changes."
> Ecologist: "You taxonomists need to leave the 18th century behind and
> embrace the 21st!  No wonder you have trouble getting respect and funding
> in the modern world."

Your conversation is delightful. Here is another one from the future.

Ecologist: "What is this species, Nezara viridulus? I have never seen this
Me: "Oh, that is the same as Nezara viridula (the Green Vegetable Bug) you
have been working with."
Ecologist: "Oh, but the species name is different, it must be something
Me: "Briefly, it was described in 1758 as Cimex viridulus. It was
transferred to the genus Nezara in 1843, and according to the rules that
time it changed the ending to conform with Latin grammar, it became Nezara
viridula. It was cited as Nezara viridula for nearly 200 years, and as it
is probably the agriculturally most significant Heteroptera, 1000+ papers
used this name. But recently we taxonomist have decided that we want to
leave the 18th Century behind and embrace the 21st. Therefore the rules of
naming animals were modified in that way that for all animals the original
spelling of the specific epithet must be used, with no regard of the
current taxonomic placement of the species, because this will make dealing
with the names more easy for those who do not want to look up Latin words
on Wiktionary. So it is now Nezara viridulus. But be careful, only Nezara
viridula has changed to Nezara viridulus, Nezara antennata and Nezara
yunnana won't change to Nezara antennatus and Nezara yunnanus, those will
remain unchanged. From now on, if you want to know the correct name of an
animal, you will only need to look up the original description, so simple.

You can complete the script and write the last line, the reply of the
ecologist / applied entomologist.

With best regards, David

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