Chapter 7: Formation and Treatment of Names

31.1. Species-group names formed from personal names. A species-group name formed from a personal name may be either a noun in the genitive case, or a noun in apposition (in the nominative case), or an adjective or participle [Art. 11.9.1].

Recommendation 31A. Avoidance of personal names as nouns in apposition. An author who establishes a new species-group name based on a personal name should preferably form the name in the genitive case and not as a noun in apposition, in order to avoid the appearance that the species-group name is a citation of the authorship of the generic name.

Examples. Gould (1841) established the specific name geoffroii in the genus Dasyurus Geoffroy, 1796. Had he proposed geoffroy as a noun in apposition, the combination Dasyurus geoffroy would have been confusing and misleading. Names such as Picumnus castelnau and Acestrura mulsant, in which the specific names are identical to personal names, are also confusing (and especially so when the specific name is wrongly given an upper case initial letter [Art. 28]).

31.2. Agreement in gender. A species-group name, if it is or ends in a Latin or latinized adjective or participle in the nominative singular, must agree in gender with the generic name with which it is at any time combined.

FranciscoWelterSchultes   Art. 31.1. again

Subject of another debate on the [iczn-list] mailing list in June 2015, which suggested that the number of incorrectly formed Latin genitives is steadily increasing.
Art. 31.1.3 is unclear in that it does not allow to correct an incorrect spelling (instead it shifts to Art. 32.3 and 32.4 where corrections are only allowed for inadvertent errors).
I would suggest to downgrade Art. 31.1 to a set of recommendations, and add a clear statement in Art. 32.5 that incorretly formed Latin genitives are not to be corrected.
In modern times a decreasing number of zoologists know Latin, and names are quite immediately entered to ZooBank without a proper check for correct Latin genitives. It is not desirable and not in the sense of stability that a name of a Chinese insect is changed after 100 years just because someone comes across it who knows Latin. Names entered to ZooBank should not be changed in their spelling afterwards, unless absolutely necessary.

In my posting from 2009-11-13 16:30:18 "one one male" should read "female".
2015-06-14 19:39:06
FranciscoWelterSchultes   Art. 31.2

If gender agreement is not removed, this Article should be modified.

31.2 A species-group name, if it is or ends in a Latin or latinized adjective or participle in the nominative singular, should agree in gender with the generic name with which it is at any time combined. Incorrect gender agreement does not affect availability of new names.

This is necessary as became clear from a discussion initiated by Mike Taylor in the [iczn-list] mailing list in Feb 2011, who believed that Art. 31.2 would render a new name unavailable if established with an incorrect ending.

2-3 % of European mollusc species were established with incorrect endings. If neuter gender was involved, 30 %.

Stability is also an objective of the Code. A ruling could be useful concerning treatment of species that were never published with their correct endings and are exclusively known with incorrect endings. Treatment of many lepidopteran species could be integrated in the Code.
2011-02-11 17:48:45
FranciscoWelterSchultes   Art. 31.1 should be modified, its main contents largely removed.

"31.1. Species-group names formed from personal names. Species-group names formed from personal names should be formed in accordance with the rules of Latin grammar. If a name is not formed correctly, the original spelling is to be maintained and must not be corrected. The incorrect application of the rules of Latin grammar is not considered as an inadvertent error (Art. 32.5)."

It is nice to explain how to form correct Latin words, because today no taxonomist knows any more how to do this correctly.
But the Code is not the right place for such a teaching.

It should be made clear that if a name was incorrectly formed, the spelling must remain in the incorrect form and must not be changed under Art. 32.5.
Art. 31.1.3 does not say this clearly enough because the term "incorrect" as used here is widely misunderstood (taxonomists understand this term as in an English dictionary and not as defined under the given Articles, and they think that smithi was incorrect if the name was dedicated to a woman).

We had several discussions in the [iczn-list] mailing list and saw that in some disciplines "incorrect" smithi names were changed to smithae if taxonomists found out that the dedicated person was one one male. We also found out that names were only sometimes corrected, in no discipline (including fishes) this has been done consistently. It is a continuous threat for names which eventually "must" be changed if somebody finds out to which persons the name was (implicitely or explicitely?) dedicated.
It was more or less commonly agreed to give a clear rule in the Code as I have outlined above, and to solve the few cases were "corrected" names are currently frequently used internally or by the prevailing usage rule.
2009-11-13 16:30:18
FranciscoWelterSchultes   Art. 31.2
If gender agreement is removed from the Code, Art. 31.2 can be largely removed and replaced by a short statement:

31.2. Agreement in gender not required. An adjectival species-group name does not need to agree in gender with the generic name with which it is at any time combined.
2009-11-13 16:29:59

Article31 (last edited 2009-05-07 15:59:49 by 172)