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Posted by WW on January 16, 2003 at 14:26:57:
In Reply to: Lampropeltis gender question.... posted by chrish on January 16, 2003 at 09:41:59:
:Was just reading a post on the kingsnake forum about the changes that were made to L. getulus in the 80s (changing getulus to getula as well as changing several subspecies epithets).
:Was that based on Lampropeltis being feminine or neutral?
It is feminine - not sure why, presumably the main root word is femionine in Latin or Greek.
:If the former situation, why did triangulum survive (instead of being changed to triangula)?
I suspect that it will be because triangulum was treated as a noun in aposition ("Lampropeltis the triangle", as opposed to "triangular Lampropeltis" - now this could tax the ingenuity of some "common name standardisers"... ;-) ).
If you describe a new species and the specific epithet is consistent with it, you can designate it as either an adjective (which will be declined in accordance with the gender of the genus name) or as a noun in aposition (which won't). I can't remember what the default option is when you don't specify anything.
Wolfgang (whose Latin teachers would also be disappointed...)