Proper Scientific name

Guy Van de Poel Guy_VdP at
Fri Oct 27 16:12:21 EDT 2000

The Code, effective 1.1.2000 says:

Use of -i for -ii and vice versa, and other alternative spellings, in
subsequent spellings of species-group names. The use of the genitive
ending -i in a subsequent spelling of a species-group name that is a
genitive based upon a personal name in which the correct original spelling
ends with -ii, or vice versa, is deemed to be an incorrect subsequent
spelling, even if the change in spelling is deliberate; the same rule
applies to the endings -ae and -iae, -orum and -iorum, and -arum and -iarum.

The Code gives an example:
'The subsequent use by Waterhouse of the spelling bennettii for the name
established as Macropus bennetti Waterhouse, 1837 does not make the
subsequent spelling an available name even if the act was intentional.'

33.3 in short says that an 'incorrect subsequent spelling' ... does not
enter into homonymy and cannot be used as a substitute name.' - it were as
if it was never written !

33.3.1 states that 'when an incorrect subsequent spelling is in prevailing
usage and is attributed to the publication of the original spelling, the
subsequent spelling and attribution are to be preserved and the spelling is
deemed to be a correct original spelling.' (!!)

I read somewhere in the Code, but can't find it right now, that when
latinizing a person's name, two methods are allowed:

gillett + ius
gillett + us

The first gives for the genitive double -ii, the second single -i. I don't
remember if either one was recommended.

There are a lot of interesting rules in the Code, and I would suggest it to
anybody who's interested enough to join a discussion on taxonomy. It is
written in a kind of language that reminds me of lawyers, but it probably
needs it to make sure there are no holes 'between' the rules ...
(Though the last one - 33.3.1 - just adds another hole if you ask me ...)


-----Original Message-----
From: Kenelm Philip <fnkwp at>
To: leps-l at <leps-l at>
Date: vrijdag 27 oktober 2000 5:08
Subject: Re: Proper Scientific name

>> First, according to the ICZN code, a single or double i ending is
>> considered to be an identical spelling -- either are accepted so
>> neither is wrong. However, the ICZN establishes the single i as
>> preferable -- which is precisely why Miller/Brown rendered it as
>> gilletti. Miller/Brown "changed" many names in that list to make
>> them conform to the rules of the ICZN.
> Unfortunately, I don't have the latest version of the ICZN. How-
>ever, according to the 1964 version:
> There is no _rule_ that 'i' is preferable to 'ii' for patromyms.
>That statement occurs in the list of _recommendations_ at the end (page
>107). Needless to say, these recommendations are not binding. For instance,
>one of them reads, "A zoologist should not propose a name that, when
>suggests a bizarre, comical, or otherwise objectionable meaning." (Page
>105) One has only to recall _Castnia inca dincadu_ Miller 1972 to realize
>that humor has its place in nomenclature... And there are many other such
>tidbits out there.
> Nor could I find where the Code says that 'ii' and 'i' are to be
>considered identical. Instead, on page 57 there is the statement that
>"the termination -i or -ii in a patronymic genitive..." is not a sufficient
>difference in spelling to prevent two species-group names "of the same
>origin and meaning and cited in the same nominal genus or collective
>group" to be considered homonyms.  That would lead to suppression of the
>junior homonym--but nothing is said about changing the spelling from 'ii'
>to 'i' in later references to the species.
> If I have missed something in the Code, will someone direct me to
>the relevant page, or edition?
> Ken Philip
>fnkwp at
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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