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 Rules of scientific nomenclature: Latin and Greek
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Francesco
Forum Admin

Luxembourg
7762 Posts

Posted - 21/12/2016 :  22:03:53  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit Francesco's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A problem often encountered in the formation of scientific names concerns the rules of Latin and Greek grammar.
This topic will help you to know the simple rules of these two languages.


Every scientific name is composed of 2 names.
  • The first one (= Genus) is a substantive (name)
  • The second one (= species and subspecies) can be an adjective (e.g. quality, colour, shape), which must be of the same gender of the first name, or a substantive.


In Latin and Greek grammar, names have 3 genders:
  • Masculine
  • Feminine
  • Neuter
  • The masculine names finish in -us or -os
  • The feminine names finish in -a
  • The neuter names finish in -um or -on


Names finishing otherwise are not simply identifiable: you should look for them in a dictionary.
However, Gemminger & Harold (1872-1873) have already studied them. You can find both books in the library here.


Names of species (adjectives) must follow these rules:
Masculine genera > species must finish in -us or -is
Feminine genera > species must finish in -a or -is
Neuter genera > species must finish in -um or -e

Examples:
Prionus coriarius
Prinous brevis

Leptura rubra
Leptura subtilis

Callidium coriaceum
Callidium simile
Dorcadion cinerarium
Dorcadion simile



Pay attention that they are few irregular masculine Latin adjectives:
pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum, NOT pulchrus!
ruber, rubra, rubrum, NOT rubrus or rubus (this means Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries!)


Francesco
Forum Admin

Luxembourg
7762 Posts

Posted - 21/12/2016 :  22:19:18  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit Francesco's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Attention!

Names of species can also be substantives, e.g. jobs or names of animals.
They must always remain the same.

For example:
agricola = peasant
inquisitor = inquisitor
miles = soldier
molitor = miller
sartor = tailor
stratega / strategus = general
sycophanta = sycophant
textor = weaver

aries, arietis = ram
elaphus, cervus = stag
equus = horse
gazella = gazelle
ibex = chamois
taurus = bull
vacca = cow

Thus:
Prionus agricola
Lamia agricola
Callidium agricola

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Francesco
Forum Admin

Luxembourg
7762 Posts

Posted - 21/12/2016 :  22:29:19  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit Francesco's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Attention!!!

Some Greek names have genders that do not seem to follow the previous rules.
That because these names have two forms: a complete one and a shorter one (which we use).
Fortunately, they are only few ... but very common!!!!
They are:

Soma (= corp) NEUTER
Stoma (= mouth) NEUTER
Schema (= schema) NEUTER


Odon (= tooth) MASCULINE

Thus:
Aegosoma scabricorne
Aegosoma scabrum
Orthostoma brunneum
Orthoschema albicorne

Mallodon dasystomus
Mallodon spinibarbis
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Francesco
Forum Admin

Luxembourg
7762 Posts

Posted - 22/12/2016 :  10:08:52  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit Francesco's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A last case are peoples' names (patronymic).
The taxonomy use the genitive of them, adding -i for men and -e for women, without correlation with the gender of the genus, e.g.:

Prionus breuningi = Breuning's Prionus
Lamia breuningi = Breuning's Lamia
Dorcadion breuningi = Breuning's Dorcadion

Prionus mariae = Maria's Prionus
Lamia mariae = Maria's Lamia
Dorcadion mariae = Maria's Dorcadion


Plural peoples' names are genitive plural, even if they look neuter!
They usually finish in -orum

Prionus philippinorum = Sybra of Philippine people
Sybra philippinorum = Sybra of Philippine people
Phymatodes testaceus var. barbarorum = barbarous' Pymatodes testaceous
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Capitaine
Scientific Collaborator

France
1165 Posts

Posted - 22/12/2016 :  15:17:04  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Un grand merci Francesco pour ces éclaicissements sur les régles de terminaisons, une aide précieuse..

Claude
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