[Taxacom] Goddess Changes Sex, or the Gender Game: Polistes dominula

Geoff Read gread at actrix.gen.nz
Mon Oct 22 23:13:10 CDT 2018

Oh wow, a digitized searchable Brown - Wonderful!

So I looked to see if William Stearn "Botanical Latin" had been put up.

It has:  https://archive.org/details/Botanical_Latin/page/n0

It's the 3rd edition of 1983. As this is not a Govt publication (unlike
Brown) I don't know if it will be removed when noticed by the publisher. 
The 4th edition is there too - for borrowing loan, reading online only.

Geoff Read

On Tue, October 23, 2018 12:16 pm, Karen Wilson wrote:
> Further to this general discussion, for those who have not heard of
> Brown's 'Composition of Scientific Words', it is available online at
> https://archive.org/details/compositionofsci00brow/page/n0
> The hardcopy book is still available - see the Smithsonian website:
> https://www.smithsonianbooks.com/store/science-nature/composition-scientific-words/
> It is invaluable both for its general discussion of Latin and (ancient)
> Greek grammar and for its extensive vocabulary with numerous examples of
> scientific names.
> Karen Wilson
> ________________________________________________________________________________________________
> Karen L. Wilson AM
> National Herbarium of New South Wales
> Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New England, Armidale, NSW
> Secretary, General Committee, International Code of Nomenclature for
> Algae, Fungi & Plants
> Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands
> T +61 (02) 9231 8137 | E karen.wilson at rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
> Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney NSW
> 2000, Australia
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of Sean
> Edwards
> Sent: Tuesday, 23 October 2018 3:08 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Goddess Changes Sex, or the Gender Game: Polistes
> dominula
>  From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polistes_dominula
> "The European paper wasp was originally described in 1791 by Johann Ludwig
> Christ <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Ludwig_Christ> as /Vespa
> dominula/. The specific epithet
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_name_(zoology)> //dominula// is a
> noun meaning "little mistress",^[4]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polistes_dominula#cite_note-4> and
> following the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Code_of_Zoological_Nomenclature>,
> species epithets which are nouns do not change when a species is placed in
> a different genus. Authors who were unaware that /dominula/ was a noun
> have misspelled the species name as "dominulus" for decades.
> Another cause of the confusion in the species' name was the ambiguous
> distinction between masculine and feminine genitive nouns.^[5]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polistes_dominula#cite_note-5> ."
> It's remarkable what bryologists chance upon.
> Sean
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Sean Edwards, Thursley, Surrey
> email: sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com
> On 20/10/2018 16:23, John Grehan wrote:
>> In reference to some brief discussion of gender rules in taxonomy I
>> have appended below the text from an article on the subject that may
>> be of passing interest. First published just over 50 years ago and
>> seems to be still relevant today. Any mistyping my responsibility.
>> John Grehan
>> Goddess Changes Sex, or the Gender Game
>> John R. G. Turner
>> Systematic Zoology, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Dec., 1967), pp. 349-350
>> In his recent criticism of the gender rule in zoological nomenclature,
>> Moore (1966) discusses the difficulty of deciding on the gender of a
>> genus:
>> he does not mention a problem that I have found most teasing –
>> discovering whether a specific name is substantive, and therefore
>> invariant, or adjectival, and therefore with a variable ending. It may
>> be reasonable to expect zoologists to manage  -*us, -a, -um* endings
>> and the more awake ones to manage  *-is, -is, -e,* but they can hardly
>> be expected to have an extensive knowledge of Latin and Greek
>> adjectives, much less of classical mythology. The sneaking pleasure
>> that I, and perhaps others, derive from exercising scholastic
>> pedantry, thereby feeling in touch with the great stream of Western
>> Culture, hardly compensates for the time spent hunting through Latin and
>> Greek dictionaries.
>> In working on the evolution of the South American butterfly genus
>> *Heliconius* (e.g. Turner, 1965) I have had to sort out some of its
>> very tangled systematics and nomenclature. The trouble is that there
>> is a tradition going right back to Linnaeus of giving the species the
>> names of nymphs and muses (*Heliconius* = dweller on Mount Helicon),
>> so that one has a masculine genus with a feminine species; moreover,
>> there was at one time a feminine genus *Heliconia*, now in synonymy,
>> with which some of the adjectival names agreed. As classical names ran
>> out, systematists named the butterflies after their wives, rivers with
>> classical-sounding names, saints and opera-heroines; one needs to know
>> not only mythology, but biogeography, geography, hagiography, and
>> musicology.
>> Understandably, systematists have changed endings that should have
>> remained, and unable to master the many names of Venus and all the
>> other ladies, have come up with *cytherus, veustus *(“Scandal in
>> temple. Vestal Virgins say *We are just good friends*”), *eulalius,
>> egerius, antigonus,
>> lucius* and so on. Now these are deliberate emendations, and under the
>> *Code *are strictly junior synonyms, to be taken into account in
>> future revisions. In addition to these very clear cases, there are
>> some that are almost impossible to decide, at least without consulting
>> a classicist. Did Linnaeus intend *charitonia*, frequently rendered
>> *charitonius* (from *Charites*, the Graces), to be an artificial noun
>> or an adjective, and if the latter, why did he not make it agree with
>> its genus (*Papilio* at that time)? Did Cramer intend *numata* to be
>> some obscure nymph (an appellation of Egeria perhaps, who taught the
>> mythical Numa), or did he just mis-spell
>> *nummata* (=wealthy); and again, why did it not agree? (See also
>> Turner,
>> 1967.)
>> The gender rule not only promotes instability of names which are
>> adjectival, it wastes much time in deciding difficult cases, and when
>> a hard-worked zoologist does not notice that the name is substantive,
>> results in an unnecessary synonym. Surely, the only sensible thing to
>> do is retain the original spelling of all names (Barring misprints),
>> even as far as the termination.
>> John R.G. Turner
>> Department of Biology
>> University of York,
>> York, England
>> _______________________________________________

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