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Revista Colombiana de Entomología

Print version ISSN 0120-0488

Rev. Colomb. Entomol. v.42 n.2 Bogotá  2016


Nota científica / Scientific note


Cases of unjustified emendations of scientific names dedicated to people in tarantulas (Mygalomorphae: Theraphosidae)


Casos de enmiendas injustificadas de nombres científicos dedicados a las personas en las tarántulas (Mygalomorphae: Theraphosidae)



1 Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM). Avenida Roraima, 1.000, Camobi, CEP 97105-900, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil,, corresponding author.;;;
2 Student.
3 Biologist.
4 Ph. D.


The cases of unjustified emendations in scientific names dedicated to people, published because of sex or the number of dedicatees, in the family Theraphosidae were analyzed. There were found three cases, which are discussed according to the rules of zoological nomenclature. The unjustified emendations are considered available but permanently invalid as junior synonyms of the original names.

Palabras clave: ICZN. Spiders. Zoological Nomenclature


Se analizaron los casos de enmiendas injustificadas en los nombres científicos dedicados a la gente, publicados por el sexo o el número de dedicatarios, en la familia Theraphosidae. Se encontraron tres casos, que son analizados de acuerdo con las reglas de nomenclatura zoológica. Las enmiendas injustificadas se consideran disponibles, pero permanentente inválidas como sinónimo junior de los nombres originales.

Key words: ICZN. Arañas. Nomenclatura Zoológica.


Dubois (2007) presented a list of several unjustified emendations of scientific names of tetrapods, and warned: "Although I did not survey the literature for other zoological groups, I presume that the same problem probably arose in several of them". Thus, herein, we analyze cases of unjustified emendations in scientific names dedicated to people, published because of sex or the number of dedicatees, in the family Theraphosidae (Arachnida: Mygalomorphae), currently containing about 978 (2nd. Dec. 2016) species (Platnick 2016).

Material and methods

To verify the changes in the scientific names of species over time we used the site World Spider Catalog (Platnick 2016) []. The scientific names dedicated to people were analyzed in the articles of original descriptions, as well as subsequent emendations.

For the preparation of species names as a tribute to a person, the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN 1999) defines, in Article 31.1.2: "A species-group name, if a noun in the genitive case formed directly from a modern personal name, is to be formed by adding to the stem of that name –i if the personal name is that of a man, –orum if of men or of man (men) and woman (women) together, –ae if of a woman, and –arum if of women; the stem of such a name is determined by the action of the original author when forming the genitive".

In accordance with the Code, emendations are "any demonstrably intentional change in the original spelling of a name other than a mandatory change is an "emendation" except as provided in Article 33.4." A "justified emendation" is "the correction of an incorrect original spelling in accordance with Article 32.5 and the name thus corrected retains the authorship and date of the original spelling [Art.19.2]." Finally, according to Article 33.2.3. of the Code "any other emendation is an "unjustified emendation"; the name thus emended is available and it has its own author and date and is a junior objective synonym of the name in its original spelling; it enters into homonymy and can be used as a substitute name".

Results and discussion

It is important to point out clearly that the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature values the preservation of the original spelling, and this should not be modified unless it is incorrect (ICZN 1999). If the original spelling is considered incorrect then it must be changed: "when the spelling can be demonstrably shown, on the basis of the original publication itself, to be an inadvertent error" (Dubois 2007). Article of the Code explicitly states that when a scientific name "was incorrectly transliterated or latinized is not an incorrect original spelling" (ICZN 1999). Thus, the names used for the specific epithets in the first column of Table 1 (original spellings) should be considered correct. However, the cases presented in the fourth column (Schmidt 1993, 2003; Peters 2003) should be considered unjustified emendations, available but permanently invalid as a junior synonym of original names, as recommended by ICZN (1999), Dubois (2007) and Nemésio and Dubois (2012).

Literature cited

DUBOIS, A. 2007. Genitives of species and subspecies nomina derived from personal names should not be emended. Zootaxa 1550: 49-68.         [ Links ]

ICZN. 1999. International Code of Zoological Nomenclature = ICZN (4th ed.). International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London. Available from [Review date: 05 March 2016]         [ Links ].

MIRZA, Z. A.; SANAP, R. V.; BHOSALE, H. 2014. Preliminary review of Indian Eumenophorinae (Araneae: Theraphosidae) with description of a new genus and five new species from the Western Ghats. PloS one 9 (2): e87928.         [ Links ]

NEMÉSIO, A.; DUBOIS, A. 2012. The endings of specific nomina dedicated to persons should not be emended: nomenclatural issues in Phalangopsidae (Hexapoda: Grylloidea). Zootaxa 3270: 67-68.         [ Links ]

PETERS, H. J. 2003. Tarantulas of the World: Amerika's Vogelspinnen. Published by the author, Wegberg, Germany. 328 p.         [ Links ]

PLATNICK, N. I. 2016. The world spider catalog, version 17.0. New York, American Museum of Natural History. Available at [Review date: 06 March 2016]         [ Links ].

SCHMIDT, G. 1993. Vogelspinnen: Vorkommen, Lebensweise, Haltung und Zucht, mit Bestimmungsschlüsseln für alle Gattungen. Vierte Auflage. Landbuch Verlag. Hannover, Germany. 151 p.         [ Links ]

SCHMIDT, G. 2003. Die Vogelspinnen: Eine weltweite Übersicht. Neue Brehm-Bücherei. Hohenwarsleben, Germany. 383 p.         [ Links ]


Received: 10-May-2016
Accepted: 04-Jul-2016

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