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

Erik Nieukerken, van erik.vannieukerken at naturalis.nl
Mon May 30 02:47:40 CDT 2016

I'd like to comment on the situation in Lepidoptera:
I disagree that it is been disastrous. On the contrary: all major
checklists use original spellings, including those for North America
(Hodges et al), Europe (Fauna Europaea), Australia (Nielsen et al), the
generic catalogue by Nye et al (online at
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/butmoth/index.html) and also the
Global Lepidoptera Names Index LepIndex (
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/lepindex/) and a number of other
modern global family catalogues.
Finding the correct gender and ending has been always more difficult due to
the artificial endings that Linnaeus invented for a number of groups of
Lepidoptera. In fact many 19th century taxonomists never did change

So the case in Leps is that it is far more easy to find original spellings
with LepIndex and for many old names using BHL and other online
repositories than finding the correct gender of a generic name and
derivation of the species epithet, and errors are made easily (including
people changing endings of nouns as has been mentioned earlier in this

All this has lead the Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica (SEL) in 2002 to
adopt a resolution to use original spellings. This was published here:
Sommerer M (2002) To agree or not to agree - the question of gender
agreement in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. Nota
Lepidopterologica 25: 191-204.

Of course, there are some lepidopterists who disagree, and some local
checklists use changed endings, but our experience is that changed endings
make the situation more disastrous than original endings.
Overall the lepidopterist community is converging towards a global use of
original endings. The situation with Australian butterflies is really a
pity, but still an exception and no reason to suddenly turn back to changed
endings globally. In Europe we see almost everybody following Fauna


2016-05-23 7:50 GMT+02:00 Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>:

> <>
> I do think however, as I said at the outset, we have to accept we are part
> of a broader biological community. We do have to work with these other
> users. We are greatly outnumbered also.
> I agree that putting every name back to original spelling would be a
> disaster, as it seems to have been for the Lepidopterans. After Frank
> Krell's comment out of curiosity I did ask Michael Braby about this for
> specifics as I was not familiar with the issues in Lepidopterans, clearly
> what was done there was disastrous, and still being sorted out. The fact
> that it was yet another issue in Australia prompted my interest too.
> <>
> Cheers, Scott

Erik J. van Nieukerken
researcher Entomology (Lepidoptera)

Naturalis Biodiversity Center
dep. of Terrestrial Zoology
PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands
[courier address: Vondellaan 55, 2332 AA Leiden]
direct phone: +31-71-751 9682
e-mail: nieukerken at naturalis.nl

President Societas Europaea Lepidopterologica  http://www.soceurlep.eu/
subject editor Zookeys  http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys
subject editor Nota Lepidopterologica http://nl.pensoft.net/

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